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Investigation launched after workers raise asbestos exposure concerns

February 14th, 2012

Washington state officials are investigating working conditions at the demolition site of several old buildings after workers raised concerns about possible asbestos exposure. Workers cleaning up job sites in Hanford, Washington noticed significant amounts of asbestos in the debris and insulation of demolished buildings. Many of the buildings were built before 1976, when asbestos use in construction was common.

The Department of Energy sent building investigators and asbestos experts to evaluate the levels of asbestos in the areas where buildings have already been demolished. The DOE has also placed barriers around demolition sites to restrict employees from entering.

Asbestos has been directly linked to several severe diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer affecting the linings of the heart, lungs and abdomen. Workplace asbestos exposure leads to thousands of mesothelioma diagnoses every year.

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