NASA operates a jet propulsion laboratory in California, and, according to a recent news article from the Pasadena Star News, employees at the laboratory may have been exposed to deadly asbestos fibers during an asbestos abatement process.
The contractor closed the third floor of the building at the laboratory complex where members of the Cassini mission project are working. The Cassini program involves a rocket and orbiter designed to travel to Saturn and launch a probe to land on the planet’s surface.
While the building floor was shut down, the asbestos abatement contractor took air samples and discovered that two of the three samples showed asbestos levels above Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended safe levels for asbestos exposure. Once this was determined, all employees who had offices in the area surrounding the increased asbestos exposure levels were relocated to safe areas. The contractors also sterilized the area according to asbestos abatement regulations. This generally means removing all loose asbestos dust and applying water to prevent more dust from being released. The company can also use a sealant coat to lock the asbestos fibers in and prevent them from being exposed to the air, where they can be inhaled by people and eventually cause malignant mesothelioma.
This particular building was one of the older buildings in the complex, and it was one of around a dozen known to contain deadly asbestos fibers. Asbestos abatement contractors also installed an airtight barrier alongside the area where the asbestos removal caused issues to prevent others in the building from being exposed. The company also performed extensive air safety testing on the first and second floors of the three-story building and claim there have been no issues anywhere else in the structure. Further testing has reportedly determined that all air levels were well within acceptable EPA guidelines for asbestos exposure.
As noted in the article, asbestos is in its most dangerous form when it is a form known as friable asbestos. Friable asbestos means that the material is capable of being crushed under the pressure of a human hand. This of course means that it tends to give off a lot of dust, and if humans inhale the fibers, it can cause mesothelioma.
One of the most troubling aspects of asbestos is that it generally takes between 20 and 50 years after initial exposure for a victim become aware they have cancer, and, when they first learn, they generally have very little time left to live. The fibers become trapped in a layer of tissue known as the mesothelium, where they can metastasize into cancer. However, there are generally no symptoms until the cancer reaches an advanced stage.
While there is virtually no question that nearly all cases of malignant mesothelioma were the result of exposure to asbestos, the hard part is determining where and when you were exposed. This is necessary, so your Boston mesothelioma attorney will know whom to name as defendants in your case. The best thing you can do is to write down your complete work history, including the type of work you did and the dates of your employment. You should also write down every place you lived since childhood.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
JPL construction may have exposed some employees to asbestos, December 19, 2015, Pasadena Star News, by Jason Henry
More Blog Entries:
Can Family of Asbestos Workers Sue for Illness?, September 15, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog