Last week we told you about the potential asbestos scare at a St. Louis post office, but today we have good news. The U.S. Post Office located in St. Louis County, IL that was closed last week due to possible asbestos in the air reopened on Saturday after additional air quality testing proved the air was clear of asbestos. STLToday.com reports that after two additional air quality tests were conducted at the post office on Congressional Drive, it was determined that the office was safe to reopen for workers and the public.
Exposure to asbestos has been known to cause a number of asbestos-related illnesses, which is why County Health Officials requested that the office be closed after asbestos materials were found during a renovation project in the building next door to the post office. Officials determined that a partition would not be enough to seal the renovation project, and the post office was closed for precautionary purposes.
The diseases caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers include asbestosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that causes decreased lung capacity, and mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer. The long latency period of mesothelioma makes it difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat once it has reached advanced stages. The actions taken by the post office and county health officials were to protect the community.
It is not uncommon to find asbestos materials in older buildings and homes, as asbestos was used as insulation and other building materials until the 1970s when its use became regulated by the Occupational Health & Safety Department. It is important, if asbestos is discovered in an area that you live or work, that a health inspector is contacted to determine if an asbestos abatement team is required to contain the asbestos fibers.