A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer says University of Pennsylvania researchers are using a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create an exhibit about asbestos manufacturing in Ambler, Pa.
The story says Ambler was a company town in the 1880s, dedicated primarily to producing asbestos. At the time, it was considered a viable industry, and it paid off for the residents in terms of affordable housing, a library and even an opera house provided by asbestos manufacturer Keasbey & Mattison Co.
But the factory closed about a century later, the story says: “leaving behind enduring concerns about the impact of asbestos on former workers, current residents, and the image of the Montgomery County borough.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer; mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
Asbestos was once widely used as a building material, but now it’s banned for that purpose and the few modern-day products containing the material must be labeled.
According to the Inquirer, the exhibit will include oral histories, photographs, and interactive media to present the story of asbestos in Ambler from various perspectives.
The story quotes Frances K. Barg, the project’s lead investigator, as saying: “There are certainly many lessons to be learned about what has happened. Telling people’s stories honors the different kinds of problems they’ve had to overcome.”
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.