Waukegan Power Plant contaminated with asbestos

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Waukegan, Illinois (JusticeNewsFlash.com – News Report) — Everyone knows that most power plants emit huge amounts of toxins and chemicals that damage our earth and atmosphere. The question is how do we stop this from occurring, especially when people’s health is involved? A large power plant on the banks of Lake Michigan has begun to sort through giant piles of sand in search of one alarming thing – asbestos.

Many sand piles at the Midwest Generation plant were surely contaminated by material from the former Johns-Manville factory, which manufactured asbestos shingles and pipe at the location for more than 60 years. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the Midwest Generation Power Company obtained a permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to sift through about 15,000 cubic yards of sand, dredged over the past several years from a nearby canal that draws lake water to cool the company’s coal-fired plant. The toxic waste particles threaten the waters and beaches of the beautiful Lake Michigan.

Currently the plant is testing whether or not the asbestos can be removed from the sand particles in order to use or sell it to road builders. Yet, this could prove to be a huge challenge as the Illinois EPA officials have already expressed their high levels of concern about the microscopic asbestos fibers possibly blowing into surrounding neighborhoods. Therefore, the EPA has mandated that the Midwest Generation cover the screening operation with a tent. The Chicago Tribute relayed that large fans are used the draw the air inside the tent and bring it through filters to screen out contaminated material. The filtered air is then sent out of the tent, and the company is required to test the outside air every day.

This is of grave importance since the surrounding residential areas from young to old will be affected by the asbestos, if not properly removed. It is not uncommon that over a significant period of time, those who are exposed to any form of asbestos could develop an aggressive cancer known as mesothelioma, which has no cure except for radiation or chemotherapy. If the plants does not adequately and responsibly filter the sand particles, there is potential for the residents to develop asbestos, file lawsuits against Midwest Generation or move away from the contaminated area, leaving little or no revenue for the town.

Although one would think asbestos is banned, it is not. In 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed by Congress to regulate toxic substances, however a total ban was not suggested. Then, in 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency pushed to ban asbestos under the aforementioned act, but two years later, a New Orleans circuit court of appeal overturned the regulation. The result is much like this case in Illinois, wherein new uses of the hazardous mineral were banned but old ones remained. The “Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007” (S.742), was introduced by Senator Patty Murray on March 1, 2007. The bill was passed by the Senate on October 4, 2007 and is currently awaiting approval in the House. We must urge our Congressmen and women to fully support this bill-the future of our loved ones and environment is in their hands.

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Written by: Jana Simard – Legal Staff Reporter for Justice News Flash – Mesothelioma news source

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