Louisiana DEQ continues monitoring 2008 hurricane debris demolition sites

Louisiana DEQ estimates 2 million cubic yards of debris with possible toxic asbestos.

Baton Rouge, LA (JusticeNewsFlash.com)–The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released its regulatory oversight after hurricanes report in early March covering the massive debris affecting the state from 2008 hurricane damage. The debris from damages to homes, businesses, schools, ship yards, and historic structures, after a catastrophic natural disaster occurs, can expose people to harmful toxins and chemicals like asbestos fibers. Roofing supplies, tiles, pipe linings, and other heat retardant/fire protectant materials used in construction was known to contain asbestos products for decades in the United States.

The DEQ field reports, based on surveys of debris sites throughout the state of Louisiana, is estimated at about 2 million cubic yards. This debris has been salvaged, demolished and removed for highways, roadways, and former housing and construction sites in multiple parishes. The DEQ predicts debris from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, from private properties and waterways, is still being salvaged, excavated and compiled in many parishes. State regulators are continuing to conduct assessments of the demolition of construction areas and the abatement of building debris and materials to ensure toxic products, chemicals, and asbestos abatement laws are followed.

Demolitions are occurring in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes plus the DEQ is providing daily oversight at construction and demolition landfills that are accepting debris from FEMA-funded demolitions related to Hurricane Katrina. Workers, laborers and construction supervisors are required to be certified by state and federal regulatory agencies when handling asbestos containing products. Asbestos abatement management is governed under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) www.egp.gov through the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and several other legislative rules including the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (NESHAP) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) www.osha.gov. OSHA regulates exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has published information about the health effects that may result from direct and secondary exposure to asbestos through inhalation including chronic illnesses and diseases including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

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