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30 Dec, 2019 11:09

Toxic threat: Tokyo 2020 organizers to take emergency measures after asbestos found at Olympics venue

Toxic threat: Tokyo 2020 organizers to take emergency measures after asbestos found at Olympics venue

Organizers of the 2020 Summer Olympics will take emergency measures after a dangerous asbestos mineral was discovered at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center, which will host water polo events next summer.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government said on Monday that it will take urgent steps to treat the situation, without specifying what concrete actions will be taken.

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Heat-resistant asbestos minerals have been widely used in insulation, auto manufacturing, and ceiling and floor tiles.

They are regarded as some of the most hazardous minerals, with the potential to cause serious lung diseases - including cancer - if breathed in for a long period of time.

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Asbestos was found within the fireproof material covering the swimming center’s roof. The presence of the dangerous element was discovered during an inspection in 2017, but the Tokyo government decided to leave it, reasoning that the small amount of the mineral present would not be accessible to visitors.

Now the organizers have promised to take measures to solve the problem, with Japanese construction industry regulations stating asbestos should be removed or covered up.