Oregon Homes Demolished Without Proper Asbestos Removal

September 28, 2015

Contractors have been tearing down hundreds of Portland homes without properly removing the asbestos inside, a practice that ignores state regulations and could put workers at risk.

An investigation by The Oregonian found that weak regulatory oversight from the Department of Environmental Quality allowed contractors to proceed with the hazardous demolitions.

Oregon regulations say licensed contractors should remove asbestos before any demolition, with a few exceptions. In addition, federal regulations require workers who could inhale the cancer-causing fibers to wear protective gear like plastic coveralls and respirators.

AsbestosThe department has known for years that its rules aren’t strong enough to keep people safe during demolitions but declined to strengthen the rules after construction industry complaints in 2002.

Since then, the Oregonian reports that potentially thousands of homes have been torn down with asbestos inside.

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