Asbestos victim pushes job site reform to protect others

Teresa Page
Photo credit (Kevin Killeen, KMOX)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Construction workers in St. Louis City will have new protections from the dangers of asbestos, under a bill passed by the board of aldermen.

Construction worker Teresa Page says she got cancer from exposure to asbestos on a job site in St. Louis 15 years ago.

"I've had four surgeries. I've had two aggressive rounds of chemo," Page said, "I've lost several organs and several trips in a wheelchair. It's a terminal cancer you get from it.  It's mesothelioma. It's asbestos-related."

Page says she was working on a building demolition with no guidelines or precautions to protect her from asbestos.

"I had no construction training whatsoever," Page said, "I was literally thrown onto a site, just 'here's a hammer and bang a wall down.'  But asbestos was in the air.  I didn't know anything about it. There was just no protection."

Under the bill, city inspectors would have to make sure employers are supplying protective breathing gear for asbestos removal. 

Also there has to be air monitoring, and spraying of the site with water during demolitions to knock down asbestos particles suspended in the air. 

Page says she was celebrating her 44th birthday by watching the board give the bill final passage.

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