Asbestos Closes Myrtle Beach Grocery Store

A Food Lion store in the popular tourist town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was closed yesterday after the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Controls (DHEC) determined that asbestos dust may have been released during a renovation project.

According to an article posted on South Carolina Now, officials say that anyone who was in the store between Feb. 18 and March 25 may have been affected.

“A contractor began removing floor tiles last month with a process that is suspected to have released asbestos fibers from the mastic used to secure those tiles,” said Myra Reece, chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Air Quality in a new released issued Wednesday by DHEC. “The process that was used should have been done in a manner that limits the amount of asbestos released into the air, thus protecting the workers, store employees and customers.”

“Our concern is that people who were in the store during this time may have breathed in asbestos fibers or purchased food products that may have asbestos-containing dust on them,” Reece added. “While air samples in the store during the project showed no asbestos, other DHEC samples on store surfaces found evidence of chrysotile, an asbestos mineral.”

Erik R. Svendsen, PhD, the DHEC’s state environmental epidemiologist believes that even for those who frequented the store between the two dates in question, exposure risk would have been minimal. However, he notes that for those with further concerns, the DHEC has prepared a fact sheet with answers to questions customers may have about the issue and what to do with food items purchased from the store between Feb. 18 and March 25. That information can be found at DHEC’s Web site at http://www.scdhec.gov.

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