Some words of caution. You might want to wear a protective mask when you are in the area surrounding the demolition of the Garman Theatre. Here’s why:
Jan. 9 was a sunny day. I went over to the courthouse to see what was happening with the demolition. In the sunshine, I noticed small sparkling fibers of something floating in the air. It was not dust; they were very short fibers.
I called the Bellefonte borough office stating that I was concerned for the safety of the public possibly breathing in toxic materials. Code official Russell Shuey called me back. He said that the Department of Environmental Protection had signed off on the demolition after walking through the building. According to Shuey, DEP indicated that all asbestos, lead paint and mold had been removed and/or mitigated. He said I was probably seeing fibers from tile ceilings and/or fibers from horsehair plaster.
I don’t want to inhale fibers of any sort — asbestos or otherwise. I also don’t see how one can completely and safely mitigate mold or lead paint without encapsulating the area.
Fibers are flying. You can still see some mold on the walls. And considering the age of the building, there must still be lead paint chips created when painted wood is cracked.
So if you are in the area and want some extra protection while this demolition is going on, I suggest obtaining and wearing a painter’s respirator mask. I am. So should you.
Joanne L. Tosti-Vasey