STLToday.com reported that a United States Post Office located near the Westport Plaza was closed last Friday after a St. Louis County health inspector suspected that asbestos had been released during the renovation of an adjoining office.

According to a spokesperson for the County Department of Health, Craig LeFebvre, workers performing renovations in the building next to the post office located at 2002 Congressional Drive discovered the asbestos materials. The health department was notified, and after determining that a temporary partition would not be enough to seal the area and the inspector requested that the post office be closed.

Postal officials and the building owner are cooperating with the health department to secure the area. Regional manager of customer relations for the postal service, Loretta Tolliver, stated that the postal service has hired a specialist to examine the air quality within their building. Until it is determined that the post office is safe for occupancy, Tolliver urges customers to use the post office located on North New Ballas Road.

Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can cause many asbestos-related illnesses, like asbestosis and the terminal lung cancer, mesothelioma. Efforts made by the postal service and the St. Louis County Department of Health are in place to help protect residents, postal office employees, workers in the renovation, and customers of the post office from being exposed to these harmful fibers. The Congressional Drive post office will be reopened when the health department and the independent specialist determine that the building is safe for public use.