Discovery of asbestos halts work at old Navy base

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina environmental officials have stopped some demolition work that is part of the effort to redevelop the old Charleston Naval Base in North Charleston.

Workers had been removing steam pipes when they discovered they were wrapped in asbestos.

Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman Jim Beasley says officials visited the site last week after getting an anonymous complaint. Beasley says later tests by two laboratories confirmed the material was asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once used for insulation. That was stopped because it can cause cancer.

Beasley says the work did not appear to pose a public health threat.  Beasley says the company doing the work needs to get a contractor qualified to handle asbestos.

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