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Source: OSHA, Claims Journal

Asbestos is the common name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals who are resistant to heat and corrosion. In the past, asbestos was used to insulate pipes and was found in common items such as floor tiles, building materials, and vehicle brakes. The most exposure to these minerals occurs in the construction industry, as well as ship and auto repair.

The hazards of asbestos are very serious – including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and sometimes death. These hazards are caused by the breathing in of asbestos fibers in the air (which are smaller than the naked eye). Usually, the highest risk of this happening is during renovation, demolition, and repair when asbestos is disturbed and the fibers enter the air we breathe. To monitor this danger, OSHA has regulated that employers provide personal exposure monitors, to make sure their workers are not exceeding the safe limit of exposure. In some cases, medical monitoring is needed for workers that are exposed to large amounts of asbestos at the work site.

Asbestos removal is dangerous, and must be dealt with very carefully. This is the case in Wilton, Maine – where an old mill building has undergone a massive asbestos removal project. The condition of the building has said to be the “worst asbestos hazard in the entire state”. The man who owns the building, as well as the contractor that created the safety hazard face significant fines. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is scheduled to inspect the Forster Mill in the near future.