Asbestos under control at Burlington Industries site, regulator says
On breezy, warm days, a cloud of dust will occasionally drift over the parking lot between the flagship Harris-Teeter grocery and Grande Cinemas in the Friendly Center. In the adjacent lot, workmen are busy preparing the former headquarters of the bankrupt Burlington Industries for demolition.
Burlington Industries ‘— once one of the two textile giants of Greensboro ‘— declared bankruptcy in 2003, and has since been absorbed by New York financier WL Ross’s International Textile Group.
The modern-looking building, a box constructed from cross-hatched steel beams and glass panels that went up in 1971, is being gutted. The building originally contained more than a half million square feet of asbestos-containing material, said Danny Lineback, an industrial hygiene supervisor with the NC Health Hazards Control Unit.
By state regulation, the company contracted to tear the building down, DH Griffin Wrecking Co., was required to remove all the asbestos by hand and run ‘negative air machines’ to vacuum up the particles, Lineback said. Neighboring residents and shoppers should feel reassured that they won’t be exposed to the harmful substance, he added.
‘“They had quite a bit of removal: 428,000 square feet of fireproofing material, 50,000 square feet of floor tile, plus pipe insulation and boiler insulation,’” Lineback said.
The industrial hygiene supervisor said the Health Hazards Control Unit had planned to conduct an inspection of the building sometime in the third week of April to ensure that all the asbestos was removed before the structure was collapsed.
Asbestos, a mineral fiber formerly used by the construction and automobile industries as an insulator, was banned from use by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1989 because exposure can cause respiratory ailments such as lung cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.