New Yorkers who were breathing a sigh of relief after a steam pipe rupture in Manhattan last week caused only a few minor injuries have something new to worry about. News sources are reporting that the smoke in the steam released when the 20” pipe burst contained asbestos, raising concerns about the long-term effects of exposure.
The incident occurred early Thursday morning in the Flatiron district of Manhattan and caused the evacuation of approximately 500 people in dozens of nearby buildings, including apartment units. Decontamination centers were set up in the immediate area for both firefighters and the public. Some people reported having “white flakes” from the steam land on them.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said officials are trying to determine if asbestos contaminated buildings in the area through air-conditioning systems.
Inhalation of asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.