Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Demolition Dust Containing Asbestos, Lead and Other Substances a Threat to Residents of Puerto Rico Following Earthquakes

Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Zimmetry Environmental provides environmental and industrial hygiene testing and consulting services to identify and prevent exposure risks to hazards materials.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico, January 20th, 2020 -- In the last several weeks there have been over 1,000 tremors that have hit Puerto Rico. While the largest earthquake was a 6.4 in magnitude, there have been a number over 5.0 and many smaller ones. The tremblors have reportedly damaged over 800 homes and many businesses, schools, institutions and infrastructure in parts of the island.

 

Once all the damage has been assessed over the coming weeks, some properties will have to be torn down and rebuilt while others can be saved with repairs. These demolition and rebuilding efforts will create tons of waste. While much of this waste is inert or nonhazardous, other debris may contain hazardous materials that may or may not be regulated by government agencies.

 

“Demolition and rebuilding waste, and the dust it inevitably creates, can in some circumstances create exposure concerns for project workers and even nearby residents,” said Harry Pena, President of Puerto Rico’s Zimmetry Environmental. “A significant amount of particulate matter can become airborne and drift onto surrounding properties. It could contain any number of hazardous materials. This could include asbestos which was used in many materials found in older buildings, including insulation, flooring tiles, shingles, roofing, textured paints and numerous other items. Although lead-based paints were banned in 1978, many buildings constructed before then still contain it. Mold is another issue as it can quickly begin to grow throughout an abandoned building or one in disrepair, including some types that are known to be pathogenic or capable of producing mycotoxins. Polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, were also used in many applications such as fluorescent light ballasts, caulks, thermal insulation and other materials up until 1979. And finally mercury, a toxic metal found in some types of thermostats, fluorescent bulbs, smoke detectors and even old paint.”

 

Helping Puerto Rico safely recover from the recent earthquakes are the environmental and building science experts at Zimmetry Environmental. Their local professionals help to safeguard communities and assist demolition and construction companies in complying with regulations associated with potentially hazardous materials. They provide both pre-demolition testing to identify potential hazards and monitoring services while demolition activities are taking place.  Zimmetry has even sponsored an online video about demolition projects and air quality concerns that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/iEc924Xq3ds

 

To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and building science assessments, indoor and outdoor environmental quality testing, or other compliance and consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email info@zimmetry.com.

 

About Zimmetry Environmental

Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.