Asbestos Found in United Nations Renovations

Approved recently by the United Nations budget committee is a massive renovation project for the entire United Nations complex in lower Manhattan. Unfortunately however, during preliminary stages of remodeling last month, asbestos has been found in several of the building’s fixtures.

At the time the recognizable post-war colossus of glass and steel was erected, asbestos was used commonly in the construction of most buildings. Especially in areas requiring insulation, asbestos was used frequently to cover piping, electrical, and other insulated fixtures.

Asbestos abatement however, has been complicated on the complex, due its international territory status. City officials have been pressing the General Assembly for the past decade to improve fire and sprinkler systems and protocol, while being met with opposition from those claiming the city has no right to force policy on the territory. In addition the United States regulations on asbestos levels do not necessarily apply to the buildings within the U.N. complex, further complicating the issue

This leaves potentially harmful levels of asbestos still within the complex as the bureaucratic tangle continues. Asbestos has been banned by the U.S. federal government since the late 1970’s because of conclusive links between exposure and respiratory illness, such as the cancer, mesothelioma.

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