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Planned Demolition of Thousands of Hurricane Damaged Structures in Puerto Rico Raises Health and Safety Concerns

Zimmetry Environmental provides consulting and testing services to identify potential hazards and exposure risks caused by demolition projects throughout Puerto Rico.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

It is important that any buildings with potentially hazardous materials in them be demolished in a manner that protects workers, neighbors and the environment.

Earlier this spring, The New York Times and dozens of other media outlets published reports about a plan announced by the government of Puerto Rico to demolish structures that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria. According to the media reports, government officials are seeking $400 million in federal funds to demolish 16,000 structures across the islands.
The removal of the damaged buildings is welcome news to many and will make land available to build new homes, schools and businesses. However, there are also health and safety concerns for residents regarding potential hazards that are likely lurking in many of the damaged structures that could cause exposure risks due to possible air, soil and water quality issues.
Demolition projects result in large amounts of waste and 16,000 structures would create an enormous quantity of debris. While much of this waste is inert or nonhazardous, some debris may contain hazardous materials that may, or may not, be regulated by government agencies. This waste, and the demolition process itself, can in some circumstances create exposure concerns for project workers, nearby residents and damage to the environment.
Depending on the type and age of the structure, it could contain any number of hazardous materials, including, but not limited to:

  • Asbestos
  • Lead-Based Paints
  • Mold
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB)
  • Mercury

“According to media reports, government officials have received some money already to pay for environmental studies and debris removal,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “It is important that any buildings with potentially hazardous materials in them be demolished in a manner that protects workers, neighbors and the environment. Even structures that do not contain asbestos, lead and other hazardous materials can create high concentrations of particulate matter that can lead to respiratory concerns for anyone that breathes the air.” 
Assisting government agencies and demolition companies in Puerto Rico comply with regulations associated with hazardous materials and pollution concerns are the professionals at Zimmetry Environmental. Their team of experts provide pre-demolition testing to identify potential hazards and monitoring services while demolition activities are taking place. Zimmetry has even sponsored an educational video about demolition projects and air quality concerns that can be seen at:
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their building science, air quality, environmental, and compliance testing and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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