For Immediate Release
June 13, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Recommends Precautions for Removing Debris that May Contain Asbestos

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding residents in storm-damaged areas to take precautions against possibly being exposed to asbestos while removing and disposing of debris.

Asbestos was used extensively in construction and building materials prior to 1980.* People can be exposed to asbestos by inhaling airborne asbestos fibers and dust from asbestos-containing materials. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.

KDHE regulations require that any contractor removing asbestos be licensed. If homeowners elect to do the work themselves, KDHE recommends the following work practices to help minimize possible exposure to asbestos when performing debris removal and demolition activities:

Materials that could contain asbestos include the following items in structures built before 1980:

*Correction 8/25/08: In the news release above, there is reference to the year 1980 that implies that construction and building materials containing asbestos were not used after that time. This implication is incorrect, asbestos can actually still be found in some building materials today.