Residents of an apartment block in California spent their Independence Day weekend earlier this month moving themselves and their belongings out of their apartments so that they would be protected from asbestos dust that could result from work that was being carried out.

Work was being carried out on the roof of the apartment block complex, which was the Americana Apartment Complex, which is in Mountain View, California. New roofs are being fitted on five of the apartment buildings, with each one expected to take around three weeks.

As the buildings were originally constructed in the 1970s their ceilings, which are designed to be fire retardant, contain asbestos, and the work on the roof may have resulted in the asbestos in the buildings being disturbed. Residents were therefore asked to move out as a precaution.

Asbestos was once widely used in building projects, as it was known for its fire retardant properties, cost effectiveness, and durability. However, several decades ago it became widely known that exposure to this material could cause the asbestos related cancer known as mesothelioma, amongst other health problems.

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