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Potential asbestos exposure removed – safe to resume walking and biking

HUBBELL – The advisory to avoid walking and biking along a 1,000 foot section of M-26 near the C&H Mineral Building in Hubbell has been lifted. It is now safe to resume activity in the right-of way of the highway. In April of 2018, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) issued a warning for people to avoid activity in the area due to physical hazards and the potential for public exposure to asbestos fibers from roofing material. Over time, exposure to asbestos fibers can cause damage to the lungs and increases the risk of developing cancer.

The property owner, Silver Shore Enterprise, Inc., worked in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to mitigate the potential for public exposure at the site. The property owner removed old roofing material from the building in September of 2018. EPA and EGLE further worked with the property owner and Honeywell International Inc. to remove soil from the M-26 right-of-way that contained asbestos material. By Oct 31, 2019, the contaminated soil was removed and replaced with clean topsoil, reseeded and mulched. In March of 2020, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department received documentation of work completed to remove the public health hazard. A review completed by WUPHD and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) concluded no apparent public health hazard remains in this portion of the right-of-way of M-26 near the C&H Mineral Building; therefore the advisory to avoid walking and biking in this area has been lifted.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department appreciated working with the EPA, EGLE, MDHHS, and other stakeholders to reach this long-term solution that is protective of public health. More information on the dangers of asbestos fibers can be found at www.wuphd.org. For more questions about asbestos, contact the EGLE Environmental Assistance Center at 1 800-662-9278. If you have questions or concerns, contact the Western UP Health Department at (906) 482-7382.

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