Oregon environmental officials are relaxing some state rules for the safe handling of debris and ash containing asbestos in an effort to speed clean-up work in parts of the state ravaged by the recent wildfires.
The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission announced on Friday, Oct. 9 that it is also authorizing the temporary stockpiling of asbestos debris in the open before it is hauled to a landfill. The temporary rules, which are valid in eight Oregon counties where the wildfires destroyed homes and buildings, also allow the use of mechanical equipment in moving the debris from fire-damaged properties. The agency is also waiving permit fees and notification requirements.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used extensively in a variety of construction materials in the U.S. When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, tiny hazardous fibers are released into the air and may cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other illnesses.
Most asbestos-related mesothelioma cases (75%) are pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining that coats the lungs and chest wall. The remaining 25% of mesothelioma cases are usually peritoneal, meaning they affect the peritoneum or lining inside the abdomen and many abdominal organs. There also is a very rare risk of pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the heart.
There’s no known safe level of exposure to asbestos, which is present in many older building materials, and there is no cure for mesothelioma at any stage.
Oregon officials say the rule changes apply to people who hire a licensed abatement contractor to clean their properties.
Residential property owners with four or fewer dwellings are permitted to perform removal of the hazardous debris themselves as long as they meet certain conditions, such as wetting the debris to prevent particles from becoming airborne and not using any paid labor for the removal.
Beasley Allen lawyers handle mesothelioma claims. They are looking at cases of industrial, occupational and secondary asbestos exposure resulting in lung cancer or mesothelioma as well as claims of asbestos-related talc products linked to mesothelioma. Charlie Stern in our Toxic Torts Section is the lead attorney working on these types of cases. As an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, Charlie is well equipped to tackle asbestos cases, which are highly complicated and require someone with a true understanding of the facts, medical issues, science and law. He is working together with Will Sutton, an experienced lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. Contact us for more information.
Additional sources: Oregon’s Asbestos Rules