From the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge, unforgettable landmarks attract visitors from across the United States and often play a vital role in local economies. However, renovations and upkeep projects on landmarks that were built during a time when asbestos was a common building material should proceed with care in order to prevent unnecessary asbestos exposure. Recent renovations were halted on a popular landmark with which many people in Ohio are likely already familiar.
The Gateway Arch is currently undergoing $380 million worth of renovations, and that budget could soon increase by approximately $350,000. While completing renovations on the Arch’s underground museum, construction workers realized that they had cut into an asbestos pipe. The discovery led to another realization — they had cut into the same pipe just a month before in Oct. 15, 2015, which had contaminated the entire work site.
Clean up efforts brought the renovations to a halt, although construction workers returned in Dec. 2015. While asbestos was not discovered in any of the high-traffic areas of the Great Arch, such as the visitor center, the workers who were completing the renovations must still contend with a month’s worth of unknown asbestos exposure. It is not exactly clear why the crew was not aware of the asbestos pipe prior to renovations.
The full impact of asbestos exposure to take months and even years to manifest, leaving workers who are wrongfully exposed to the toxic substance uncertain of their future. When illnesses and diseases do eventually develop, the results are often devastating. Lung cancer, throat disease and the deadly cancer Mesothelioma can bring victims’ lives to abrupt stops, leaving loved ones with mountains of medical bills and other financial damages on top of their grief. In most cases, the companies responsible for wrongfully exposing Ohio workers can be held legally and financially responsible by the victims’ surviving family members.
Source: bizjournals.com, “Asbestos could delay Arch project, add $350,000 cost“, Diana Barr, Jan. 28, 2016