Superstorm Sandy Brings Asbestos Woes
The victims of Superstorm Sandy have seen enormous loss and devastation. Now, survivors need to recognize the risks of asbestos exposure.
The storm has claimed over 100 lives in the U.S.–mostly in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Over a hundred houses and housing units were destroyed, as witnessed by many news reporters throughout the New York/New Jersey area. We are talking about $62 billion and counting in damage and other losses in the country because of this latest storm.
To put Superstorm Sandy in perspective, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left $128 billion damage in its wake, adjusted for inflation in 2012 dollars. In the Caribean, Sandy left no less than $315 million in damage.
A 2011 tornado in small town Joplin, Missouri left behind 2,600 tons of asbestos debris.
Contrast that one little community with all of the large communities, including the greater Manhattan area and the sizable New Jersey cities hit by Sandy. Linda Reinstein, president of the nonprofit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “Do the math, and we can recognize that we have a significant public health risk with Hurricane Sandy.”
Along with schools and buildings, thousands of houses have water and wind damage, causing a spike in risks of exposure to various toxins. Asbestos related injury is one of the greatest concerns. Construction debris and waste likely contain microscopic asbestos fibers. Because these particles are virtually impossible to detect to the naked eye, people can unwittingly breathe it and ingest it. After time, mesothelioma or other severe medical conditions is a common result.