The U.S. Forest Service closed certain parts of Camp Hale in Colorado after finding asbestos in some areas of the former military training camp. Our mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn the public that asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing various lung diseases, including asbestosis and an incurable cancer called mesothelioma.
Officials say that asbestos was left behind about 50 years ago in the northern part of the camp that once functioned as a military training area. At the time, Camp Hale housed approximately 17,000 soldiers training for World War II. The training site was deactivated in 1965.
Air monitoring tests conducted in the area returned negative results, so the asbestos fibers may not be airborne. However, this possibility has not been conclusively ruled out, so the threat of breathing in toxic asbestos remains.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered the asbestos last winter while investigating the site for potential explosives and health and environmental issues. They could not, however, probe into the discovery until after all of the snow in the area melted.
The northern section of the camp and some portions of the southern section are closed in order to protect public safety. Forest service officials are trying to come up with a long-term plan to ensure public health.
With hunting season underway, these closures could present some problems. Maps and closure signs direct hunters though specific Camp Hale trails where travel is allowed. Officials also have a system in place to eliminate the threat of toxic asbestos in the local drinking water.
Asbestos is a hazardous mineral that causes significant health problems if it is inhaled. Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can lie dormant in the body for decades, and treatment is typically unsuccessful.
In related asbestos news, anAssociated Press article reported that a proposed standard by the EPA to clean up airborne asbestos in Libby, Montana is more rigorous than ever.
Hundreds of people died after breathing in toxic asbestos fibers spread by the chemical company W.R. Grace & Co. For nearly 30 years, the vermiculite mine covered the town in deadly asbestos dust. At least 400 people died and about 1,700 got sick because of exposure to the dangerous mineral. Even more deaths and illnesses are expected because asbestos-related diseases have such a long latency period.
Industrial sites around the country were affected by the asbestos-contaminated vermiculite from Libby. These site may require unexpected, expensive cleanups as a result of the proposed standard.
While the government now strictly regulates the sale of asbestos-containing materials, they have yet to establish a safe level of asbestos exposure. This proposal set a risk level for non-cancer diseases, such as asbestosis lung disease.
Since the first Libby cleanup in 1999, approximately $447 million has been spent to try and protect the public from airborne asbestos fibers. Generations of residents who worked and lived near the Libby processing plants have fallen victim to the toxic mineral.
Hazardous asbestos exposure results when asbestos-containing materials are released into the air during activities such as remodeling and demolition work. Asbestos victims can be compensated with the help of a skilled asbestos attorney.