Mesothelioma risk inspires environmental emergency declaration

According to a press release issued by the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, an environmental emergency has been declared in Carlisle County for a demolition site near Arlington, Kentucky.

The property, located at KY 51 North, is a former electroplating facility that was known as Deena Products, which manufactured lamp fixtures. The Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management is working quickly to remove the asbestos-contaminated debris from the site.

Deena Products stopped operating at the facility in the late 1980s, meaning those who worked in the buildings before their closing may have been exposed to asbestos around the height of asbestos use. The buildings left on the property were recently scrapped for metals and testing revealed asbestos was present in some of the remaining materials throughout the property.

Exposure to asbestos, which typically occurs through inhaling airborne fibers, is known to cause the development of several asbestos-related illnesses, including lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, those exposed often do not experience symptoms of these illnesses until at least 10 years have passed. The symptoms of mesothelioma can take as long as 50 years to develop.

In addition to previous workers from this facility, nearby residents should be cautious as there is unrestricted access to the property. Because of this unrestricted access, the Division of Waste Management is allowed to speed up the process. To do this, the division is allowed to contract with a certified asbestos abatement contractor outside the normal state procurement process to remove the asbestos-containing materials, properly dispose the material, and test the property to confirm the absence of asbestos.

Tony Hatton, director of the division, said, “Agency staff will be coordinating the emergency cleanup efforts and working closely with local officials to both ensure the protection of public health and that the material is disposed of safely.”

The funds for the emergency cleanup are coming from the Hazardous Waste Management Fund. In its history, the Division of Waste Management has utilized the fund since 1992 and has cleaned 66 major sites and nearly 500 smaller sites, totaling $30 million.

Additional information about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure may be found through the Mesothelioma Center.

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