Officials search for asbestos following Arkansas fireInvestigators with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) are checking for asbestos in the debris that remains from a recent fire in Forrest City that destroyed a number of buildings, according to local television station KATV.
Forrest City Mayor Larry Bryant noted that the cleanup process would be extended if asbestos was found among the rubble.
"The ADEQ was checking the site for us before we start to remove the debris," Bryant told the news source. "They said that if more than 2 percent asbestos is found we would have to hire a company that is certified to remove the debris. We do have a few certified asbestos testers who work for the city, but we are not certified to remove asbestos."
Bryant added that if the site contains more than 2 percent asbestos, the bricks cannot be used for filler and would need to be brought to a landfill for disposal.
Such precaution is necessary when it comes to handling asbestos, as the inhalation of the dangerous mineral fibers has been proven to cause a number of serious illnesses including asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer diagnosed in approximately 2,500 Americans each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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