A gas leak in Durham, North Carolina occurred on April 10th this year and had devastating effects on the community. After testing some samples from the explosion, officials came to the conclusion that there was in fact asbestos contamination in the debris.
That means that during the gas leak explosion, asbestos fibers were also exploded into the air, contaminating a large area space. The NC Division of Public Health stated that they, “cannot know for sure whether anyone was exposed to asbestos during this incident. However, based on our test results and the short time that elapsed before dust was controlled at the site, we believe the potential for public exposure to asbestos was minimal.”
Luckily the NC Division of Public Health worked quickly to lessen the effects of this asbestos explosion on the surrounding people and on the workers tasked with cleaning up the asbestos. They used the method of spraying down all debris with water to lessen the amount of asbestos exposure. Since asbestos fibers are so small and light, any type of disturbance to the debris would send them flying into the air.
Airborne asbestos are extremely dangerous, being airborne allows the fibers to easily lodge themselves into the deep tissue of the lungs. When lodged in this tissue, asbestos can cause different types of cancer, the most aggressive being mesothelioma.
The NC Division of Public Health also set out air quality monitors to insure that airborne asbestos were kept at a minimum. With both of these asbestos removal techniques being used, the cleanup should go smoothly with little exposure to the workers.