Public works workers reportedly exposed to asbestos – Times-Herald
Employees at Vallejo Public Works were reportedly exposed to friable asbestos last week after being brought to work at a former Navy-owned building on Mare Island, a source told The Times-Herald.
“It was recently brought to our attention that some of our public works employees may have been exposed to asbestos and / or lead while performing their normal duties entering a building that contained such materials. “said a city statement emailed to The Times-Herald. “It is not known at this time if there has been actual human exposure exceeding health limits.”
The work crews were allegedly undertaking road repair work when they were suddenly asked to abandon the project and prepare a building on Mare Island to become a “bird sanctuary”. The orders, according to the source, came “from an unknown political figure.”
When workers arrived on Monday May 24 and saw the old building of 505 Azuar, some of them refused to enter for fear of being exposed to asbestos, the source said. Workers who entered the building wore only surgical masks for COVID-19 safety.
The workers were ordered to “clean up the place” and began to shovel the old tiles. The next day, according to the source, they were all told they had been exposed to asbestos and should be tested.
Asbestos is generally “safe” unless it is disturbed and turns into dust particles in the air. These “friable” materials can scarring the lungs and causing cancer. Although not outright banned in the United States, the use of the naturally occurring material declined sharply after the 1980s, when knowledge of its dangers became well known. The EPA still allows it in floor tiles, insulation and even car parts, after going through a safety review by the agency, according to Mesothelioma Hope.
According to the source, workers were x-rayed on Tuesday of this week, with no one showing signs of asbestos effects. On Wednesday, the city emailed workers announcing “asbestos awareness” training.
Myrna Hayes, president of the Mare Island Heritage Trust and community co-chair of the Restoration Advisory Board and true island encyclopedia, says the building in question has a long and fascinating history. She says it was the first place on the continent to learn about the Pearl Harbor bombing. She also said there are reports that aviator Amelia Earhart’s radio transmissions went through there.
She also said that it is common knowledge that old Navy ships contain both asbestos and lead, and she is “shocked” and “angry” to learn that such an apparent lack due diligence was taken in this matter. She also wonders whether or not the “unknown politician” was from the town of Vallejo, which she says does not have the authority to do anything in a building that does not belong to them.
“According to the Navy, Building 505 is not being transferred to Navy City and they have no other deal for renovation or occupation,” Hayes said. “I am sickened to learn that just as we have reached the milestone of 27 years of public participation in the environmental clean-up of Mare Island through the Restoration Advisory Board, the city would dare to give the program a black eye. of cleaning. It operates outside the bounds of environmental law and clean-up procedures and jeopardizes the honest work of the Navy and its contractors, as well as the health of its workers. “
“We take the possibility of such exposure seriously and are looking into the matter with the greatest of hurry,” the City said, adding that whenever there is reason to fear that an employee has been exposed to a substance or a chemical that could be potentially harmful, a series of steps are taken, including tests, medical examinations, and treatment if necessary.
The city also said that due to privacy concerns, it could not release details of the employees involved in the incident.
The city did not disclose the identity of the “unknown politician” who allegedly ordered the cleanup, and Mayor Robert McConnell said he had no knowledge of the incident.