Follow asbestos guidance during storm cleanup

DES MOINES -- In the aftermath of the recent tornadoes, many Iowans must deal with storm-damaged buildings.

It?s important for people?s health to handle debris cautiously when tearing down structures that might contain asbestos.

Disturbing asbestos-containing material releases tiny fibers that can lodge in a person?s lungs. Although symptoms might not show up for 20 years, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of serious health problems including cancer and lung disease.

Before beginning work on commercial buildings, federal rules require notifying the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and following asbestos removal and disposal requirements.

?Most important, we want people to be safe,? said Brian Hutchins, air quality supervisor. ?We have a new fact sheet to guide people through how to minimize risks and meet federal rule requirements as they clean up disaster debris.?

Look for disposal tips on DNR?s website in the Asbestos Information fact sheet. Or check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency?s asbestos page.