DENVER (Reuters) – Denver’s city hall has begun testing for asbestos and other contaminants in residential buildings, in an effort to limit the spread in a city still recovering from the 2009 pandemic.
The city is among a handful of U.S. cities that have started testing for the carcinogens as part of an effort by the U.N. to test more than 60,000 residents, the city said on Monday.
Denver was among six cities tested by the United Nations last year, which found that residents of Denver had elevated levels of asbestos, lead, cadmium and mercury.
A state law passed last year requires all new residential buildings to have asbestos tests and to have all workers and visitors wear protective equipment.
The mayor’s office said in a statement that the city was also working with the U to conduct an independent study on the health effects of asbestos exposure.
Denver has seen more than 20,000 people with elevated levels or chronic exposure to asbestos and another 15,000 with a low-level exposure, according to a report by the nonprofit Health Impact News, a nonprofit health care organization.
A report by New York State health officials last month said that a large number of people in New York City, which has seen an explosion of asbestos-related illnesses, had elevated rates of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
The U.K. also has been testing people, and Australia and Canada have also tested people, the Associated Press reported on Monday citing public health officials.
The AP cited an analysis by a team of U in Britain and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia that found about 7,000 children in England, Australia and New Zealand were living with elevated rates.
In Colorado, officials have begun using a new method for testing, a test that is more sensitive than the old test and requires less time for testing.
Health officials are working with health insurers to make sure that the results will be reported as early as possible.
“There’s a good likelihood we can get those numbers out as early in the coming weeks,” said Tom Regan, the director of the health department.
The testing, which will continue for three months, is the first step in a nationwide effort to reduce exposure to the carcinogenic material, which can cause lung and heart damage.
“It’s not an ideal outcome for any one person, but it’s an ideal result for all people,” Regan said.
“This is really a first step towards getting that message out as quickly as possible and to get people to take action.”
Regan said Denver had seen an increase in the number of residents with elevated asbestos levels and that the work is continuing.
Denver’s testing began late last month, after a U.F.O. worker at the city’s National Air and Space Museum came down with asbestos and passed away in April.
Denver, which reported an 8,700-unit increase in asbestos exposure in the city in the past two months, has set up an independent commission to study the issue and is looking for other health measures.
The commission has been trying to determine the extent of the problem and has asked health insurers for recommendations on what steps they can take.
In Denver, some health insurers have said they are taking steps, including testing employees for asbestos.
In an effort not to make things more difficult for residents, Regan has suggested that the health plan provide them with an additional set of free tests in addition to the current set.
Regan’s office did not say whether other health insurers in Denver are also working to reduce their asbestos exposure and whether that would help in the effort to stop the spread.
“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to participate,” Reimann said.
“We know we’re not perfect.”
In addition to testing for indoor and outdoor workers, Denver has also ordered a test for workers in the offices of insurance companies.
The city said it has a limited number of workers that can be tested.
Health experts say the number and types of asbestos and lead that are found in buildings should be monitored as they become more common.
They say workers should also wear protective gear and use filters, like dust masks.