Posted November 05, 2019 09:59:50The United States Geological Survey has announced that asbestos is the most common source of contamination in residential buildings, with around 40% of the country’s population having it.
Asbestos is used to build houses and apartments, and is used as a sealant and as a filter.
This means that it can be found in buildings that have been constructed in the past, but which no longer meet the standards required by building codes.
According to the USGS, the number of residential buildings with asbestos in them is growing, with asbestos being added to more than 100,000 buildings in 2017 alone.
The USGS report states that asbestos in residential construction is “one of the most important sources of indoor and outdoor exposure to toxic compounds in the United States.”
It is estimated that around $3.6 billion of asbestos was removed from the United Nations’ building code in 2017, and that more than 200 million pounds of the material is being removed every year from the US.
Despite the increasing amount of asbestos that is being mined in the US, and the fact that asbestos fibers are also found in other materials like paint, most residential buildings are not equipped to deal with the high levels of contamination found in the asbestos-filled buildings around them.
The most recent report on asbestos found that “the average residential building is not capable of handling the concentrations of airborne contaminants found in a typical building.”
The report also stated that “it is not yet clear how the amount of indoor asbestos is related to the degree of indoor contamination.”
In a statement, USGS chief engineer Andrew P. Toth noted that the report is “consistent with the recommendations of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the most appropriate source of indoor exposure to airborne particles for a building is the air itself.”
The EPA’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for the asbestos removal of residential facilities says that the “environmental hazards associated with asbestos-containing materials in residential environments can be expected to be greatest where the asbestos is exposed in the form of dust or debris.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.