The “highly regulated” abatement work is being performed and supervised by a licensed third-party firm that collects air samples and visually assesses the work, Zodet Negron, a spokeswoman for the New York City Housing Authority, said in an email.
Deteriorating parapet walls that contain asbestos materials will be removed and disposed of before the structures are replaced with roof railings. The material will be removed from the site and sealed in containers that are kept away from the public.
Residents recently learned that at least three buildings of the public housing complex — at 80 and 82 Dwight St., and 135 Richards St. — were undergoing asbestos abatement, which sparked concerns that the materials could be potentially hazardous to their health.
Notices posted around the complex warned that cancer and lung disease could arise from high exposure.
“We understand that to the untrained eye some aspects of the work that do not include removal of hazardous materials may be confused with actual abatement,” Negron said.
“Rest assured, however, that at this and all NYCHA job sites, safety is a priority, as is the full protection of our residents and labor force,” she said.
Asbestos, a mineral fiber that can be present in rock and soil, used to be commonly found in a variety of construction materials, including roofing shingles, tiles and some cement products. Many asbestos-containing products have since been banned because of its adverse health effects, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The material primarily becomes a health risk when it is crumbled and fibers are released into the air, according to the New York State Department of Health. The chances of experiencing high exposure to asbestos is small for most building occupants.
The anticipated completion date for the abatement work is within the next month. The restoration work will be completed soon after.