Asbestos found at Anchorage construction site

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Construction workers have discovered buried asbestos at the site where the new Alaska Psychiatric Institute is being built.

An estimated 1,600 cubic yards of contaminated dirt is being bagged and hauled away at a cost to the state of $460,000.

The buried asbestos was discovered during excavation for the new hospital and its parking lot. One worker has complained to environmental regulators that he was exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos refers to a group of minerals used for decades in building materials, car brakes and other products. It is now known to cause serious disease, including lung cancer, when microscopic, barblike fibers work their way into lungs. So it must be removed by specially trained and equipped workers.

On April 3, Neeser Construction Inc., the API general contractor, alerted the state that workers had found what looked to be a small construction dump, with bits of wire and steel mixed into the dirt. The material tested positive for asbestos.

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