Does anyone need to worry about asbestos fibers released into the air following the explosion of an 83-year old Manhattan steam pipe last Wednesday? Hopefully not! So far, officials are saying that while asbestos fibers were detected in solid material near the site, they were not found in air samples collected on-site. Still, with the respiratory illnesses of WTC responders fresh in everyone’s mind, a Staten Island Advance columnist reported that Wednesday’s responders were quick to don masks and to start asking questions about potential health effects. Read more about the response to the incident from the L.A. Times and Newsday.com.
Meanwhile, residents of Dallas, Texas are wondering if their respiratory symptoms may be related to contaminants released into the air by the W.R. Grace Texas Vermiculite Plant (now closed). After letters were sent out to former plant employees and area residents, hundreds showed up at a local hospital this weekend to get free x-rays. Read more about this situation courtesy of the Houston Chronicle and WFAA, a Dallas news station.
In other news:
- OSHA announced that it will fine BP $92,000 for safety violations responsible for the 2005 disaster at its Texas City plant. (See this BBC article for more details.)
- The family of a Tulsa, OK man killed in an industrial dryer is suing his employer, Cintas. (See this article for more details.)
- Families of three former Bethlehem Steelworkers won $3.97 million dollars in compensation for lung cancer deaths they believe were caused by General Electric’s asbestos-laden industrial brakes. (See this article for more details.)
- The Louisville Courier-Journal has the story of a Kentucky coal miner who used his video camera to draw MSHA’s attention to leaky mine seals.
- The Knoxville News Sentinel reports on former nuclear employees struggling to get compensation from a federal program.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that American Asbestos Control Company was ordered by a federal court to pay a $25,000 fine for violating fall protection standards that led to the death of a 27 year-old worker in 2005.