Asbestos insulation surrounding an underground pipe that recently burst in downtown St. Louis did indeed release loose fibers of the dangerous material into the city’s air. Despite this, health inspectors are insisting that there is no need to worry about an increased risk of city residents developing asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma.
The steam pipe ruptured on April 5 near Convention Plaza and N 11th street, spewing dirt and asbestos insulation that covered a one block radius. Cleanup crews were quick to section off the area and immediately begin the cleanup process, which was finished within days.
However, the testing of substances that were released when the pipe burst confirmed that some of the debris that was spread throughout the area contained asbestos. The exact amount of asbestos that was released into the city could not be confirmed, but the city’s Health Director, Pam Walker said that the risk of residents developing any asbestos related diseases because of the debris was “very minimal.”
While the Environmental Protection Agency has been informed of the pipe burst in St. Louis, it had no immediate plans to assist in any cleanup in the area.