Asbestos Materials Found In Dallas
Like many other large cities in the United States, Dallas is home to a number of asbestos exposure risks. According to data from 1979 to 2001, Texas ranked fourth in the U.S. for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths and Dallas County recorded the third most asbestos-related deaths in the state.
Although there are some naturally occurring asbestos deposits in Texas, Dallas residents have a higher risk of encountering the fibers in older construction materials.
Dallas is home to many older homes and public buildings that may have been constructed with asbestos products. Structures that were raised in or before the 1980s – such as Dealey Plaza or the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza – may still contain these products today.
According to the Environmental Working Group, 327,411 tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite from Libby, Montana was shipped to Dallas before the Libby mine closed in 1992. This asbestos-laden material was used for attic insulation and gardening in homes throughout the country.
Asbestos construction products can range from large sections of wallboard to small flooring tiles. Other common asbestos materials include:
Although building occupants are not at risk for asbestos-related diseases if they leave these materials alone, crumbling or deteriorating asbestos materials do pose a health threat if inhaled in a heavy amount or for a long period of time. Untrained building owners who attempt to personally remove asbestos products from their property (or any unlicensed abatement workers that they hire) have an especially high risk of exposure.
However, minimizing this risk is simple: Owners of older properties should contact an accredited asbestos removal company to handle abatement procedures and pre-renovation inspections.
Dallas Jobsites with a History of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos materials were also present at many Dallas jobsites before the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulated their use. Texas-based industries including Texaco oil, Lone Star Industries, Texas Chemical and Texas Vermiculite Company were among the most heavily-contaminated jobsites in the state. Chevron Phillips Chemical, Gulf Oil and Todd Shipping Company also relied heavily on asbestos materials to insulate their equipment and workspaces. However, any industrial jobsite in Dallas – including power plants and mines – may have exposed workers to asbestos fibers.
Many of these jobsites have long since been cleaned up; their asbestos materials have been encapsulated or removed to protect workers’ safety. However, industrial and construction workers should always take precautions when handling leftover asbestos products. The Texas Department of State Health Services Asbestos Program provides a comprehensive guide that outlines all of these procedures, including licensure and appropriate use of protective equipment.
For most Dallas residents, public and private buildings and residential homes built in or before the 1980s are the primary sources of asbestos exposure. Home and building owners should hire a licensed asbestos abatement company to have their home inspected and asbestos materials remediated in a safe way that follows state and federal asbestos regulations.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.
Environmental Working Group: Government Statistics on Deaths Due to Asbestos-Related Diseases. (2012).