Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Colorado Man's Home is a Living Laboratory.

Part 2 of the "Killer In The Attic" articles from AOL News discussed the story of 71 year-old William Cawlfield, who has mesothelioma.  Mr. Cawlfield lives in a two-story red-brick farmhouse in Pueblo, Colorado that had been his family's home for more than a century.  When he was 15 years old Mr. Cawlfield helped his father install Zonolite insulation in the attic.  In addition, Mr Cawlfield also said "I used to play up there and kept my toys and a bunch of books because it was like a sand pile where I could hide things,..."  He had no knowledge that the material contained asbestos.
Last month, Cawlfield stood outside his family's home watching a specially trained asbestos-removal experts wearing respirators and dressed head to toe in Tyvek carefully remove the Zonolite insulation from inside. He was paying $15,000 to have them do so.  The reason he was doing this was testing conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Denver regional office found that high levels of the lethal tremolite fibers were released from the Zonolite insulation that was spread between the rafters in its attic.  EPA inspectors concluded that the almost-invisible asbestos-containing dust from the Zonolite sifted though the light fixtures and switches, ceiling fans and the seams of dried-out joint tape.  Copies of the reports from EPA (that AOL News obtained) determined that some of the levels of asbestos recorded in the house exceeded the maximum number of lethal fibers that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says is too dangerous for workers.
Unfortunately, EPA continues to not provide any guidance to the asbestos abatement industry on how to handle this material and continues to rely on its website as the only source of information on this dangerous situation.
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