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Resident raises asbestos concerns to city
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The fight over the perceived safety of homeowners along Lathrop Road hit a new gear on Monday night when the woman leading the charge against the city’s road-widening project accused the city of not properly handling what she believes to be asbestos-filled concrete that was unearthed during the project.
According to Adriana Lopez – the only property owner that refused to sell a portion of her property to the City of Lathrop to allow the widening project to proceed as originally designed – the concrete chunks that were ground up and disposed of before any testing took place could very well be full of the naturally-occurring, cancer-causing agent that would have become airborne as a result of how it was disposed of.
While Lopez said that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has since taken air and soil samples that are currently being analyzed in a laboratory, the city maintains that there has been no indication that asbestos was present in any concrete that was dug up and noted that it’s typically not something that’s found in concrete that is used in the way that sidewalks and roadways are.
“There is no evidence of asbestos on the site at all, or that any old concrete may have evidence of asbestos,” said Lathrop City Engineer Glen Gebhardt who was standing in for City Manager Steve Salvatore Monday night. “With the way that concrete is typically broken up, it’s typically never a problem and there is no evidence that there is anything there to be concerned about –I’ve never heard of there being asbestos in concrete in the past.”
According to – a website that focuses on asbestos and the particular type of cancer that it causes – the fibrous substance was commonly used in asphalt prior to the 1980s and even earlier than that in certain types of concrete piping to provide insulation. It’s use in concrete for sidewalks or roadways was not a described use.
Lopez, who has dished out a long list of safety concerns ranging from speeding trucks to having to back out of her driveway into oncoming traffic, told the council that she contacted multiple environmental specialists in the last week and was advised to have swabs taken of her home to test for both asbestos and lead.  She said in her comments that she believes the city should be responsible for the costs of the tests and not the homeowners who have had to deal with the fallout from the construction.
While the city has been taking extensive criticism from Lopez other nearby homeowners who are upset with the project, they also laid out a plan on Monday to work closely with the Highlight Church of God in Christ to make sure that there will be access to the sanctuary for the wife of Rev. Maurice Cotton who is now in her 90s. The street that runs alongside the longstanding church, which faces Lathrop Road, was named in his honor. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.