Apartment dwellers in Denver, Colorado got a rude awakening last month when building management told them they needed to vacate their apartments after asbestos was found in the complex. The tenants were told to ‘pack like they were going on a three week trip,’ but nearly a month later they have been told their leases are terminated and they will not be able to return to their homes.
During removal of hallway carpet at the Overlook at Mile High Apartments, according to 9News, asbestos was discovered leading management to force approximately 70 residents out with just a few hours notice. The residents have since been told in a letter that “leases are terminated and their soft-good belongings” are not safe and will be thrown away.
“Our main concern is the health issue,” one man, whose son was displaced by the asbestos, told the news station. “Our son may have been exposed to asbestos.”
9News reporters have requested comments from the apartment managers, but were told by a spokesperson, “At this time, they’re declining any interviews. They do not wish to speak with you.”
Many questions still remain unanswered, however, Christopher Dann, with the Air Pollution Control Division made the following statement to 9News:
“The property management has retained two certified general abatement contractors that are performing abatement services in accordance with regulation in the two buildings that were disturbed. Sampling and abatement are occurring in these two buildings because of the recent activities that disturbed asbestos-containing materials.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos can be found in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials, including roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products. Although no longer used in construction materials, buildings built prior to 1980, more than likely, contain some asbestos-containing materials.
The EPA adds that asbestos that is in good condition, is not friable, and is left undisturbed is unlikely to present a health risk. However, risk of mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases becomes an issue when asbestos is damaged or disturbed where asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled. It can take decades for mesothelioma to develop after initial exposure. The EPA reports there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency