After asbestos was discovered in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games water polo swimming center, the Tokyo metropolitan government and Olympic organizers agreed to begin taking action to contain the asbestos. With spectators from around the world reporting to the venue for the Olympic Games, this situation is a testament to the importance of scheduling an inspection and having a plan to enact asbestos countermeasures early in the process of any project.
How Was the Asbestos Discovered?
Back in 2017, while making plans to install handrails and increase the venue’s handicap accessibility, an asbestos inspection was conducted before renovations began. The inspection led to the discovery of asbestos in the water polo venue, which had been sprayed onto fireproof covering material on two column bases supporting the roof. Against their better judgment, the government deemed the material’s location and condition were not a cause of concern and refused to enact immediate measures, despite the known risks.
Why the Emergency?
Due to convenience, the venue was originally sprayed with asbestos-containing fireproofing and insulation. However, spray-on asbestos has been linked to several health hazards including mesothelioma and other types of cancer. This is especially concerning as spray-on asbestos is a friable substance, so any disturbance – such as renovations – can result in the asbestos becoming airborne and inhaled. Since the venue is due for an increase in traffic, the government has officially called for emergency measures to contain the asbestos.
What Countermeasures are Planned?
The 2020 Tokyo Games Organizing Committee has proposed to use sheets to cover the treated sections, along with unspecified additional measures. The proposed solution – a process known as asbestos abatement – called for the encapsulation of the asbestos using sheets to seal, bind, and contain the potential contamination. This is a convenient and inexpensive method of asbestos abatement, costing an average of $2 to $6 per square foot. While this protects the asbestos from damage in the short term, it is hoped that after the Olympics, the venue will invest in the removal of the asbestos.
Despite being a relatively new building, having been opened in 1993, the venue still contains asbestos, which is why the age of a building shouldn’t determine the importance of an asbestos inspection. Even in the United States, we struggle with banning asbestos, making it a continuous threat to public health. Here at Fiber Control, Inc., we are experienced asbestos abatement contractors dedicated to asbestos removal and remediation, Lead RRP, mold remediation, and selective demolition. Contact us today to for help deploying asbestos countermeasures on your contaminated home or commercial property.