US Officials Respond to Asbestos Issue at Tokyo 2020 Water Polo VenueAsbestos Exposure & Bans
Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
King, D. (2022, August 24). US Officials Respond to Asbestos Issue at Tokyo 2020 Water Polo Venue. Asbestos.com. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2020/01/06/asbestos-tokyo-olympics/
King, Daniel. "US Officials Respond to Asbestos Issue at Tokyo 2020 Water Polo Venue." Asbestos.com, 24 Aug 2022, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2020/01/06/asbestos-tokyo-olympics/.
King, Daniel. "US Officials Respond to Asbestos Issue at Tokyo 2020 Water Polo Venue." Asbestos.com. Last modified August 24, 2022. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2020/01/06/asbestos-tokyo-olympics/.
Officials with USA Water Polo are confident that organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will fix an ongoing asbestos issue at the water polo venue for this year’s games.
Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun originally reported that officials had discovered asbestos-containing insulation in at least two locations of the Tatsumi International Swimming Center in 2017. But the human carcinogen was not removed during renovations to the arena.
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer with no definitive cure.
Following reports of the asbestos issue, Tokyo 2020 organizers are taking “emergency countermeasures” to ensure the venue is safe for Olympic athletes, personnel and spectators.
“We are working closely with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee in conjunction with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, and we are confident that they are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all athletes during the games, irrespective of venue or site,” USA Water Polo spokesman Greg Mescall told The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com.
Asbestos Issue Originally Deemed Stable
The Tatsumi International Swimming Center opened to the public in 1993. According to The Asahi Shimbun, city officials discovered the asbestos issue during a survey of the venue in 2017.
Japan’s Building Standards Law states that asbestos should be removed or covered up if the issue is large in scale. Tokyo government officials deemed the amount of asbestos-containing materials at the swimming facility did not fit that requirement and did not constitute a “major” improvement.
The Japanese government began phasing out asbestos in 2004. Although a total ban was promised by 2008, it wasn’t fully prohibited until 2012.
The spray-on insulation products were also isolated to the center’s roof and were in an area where pedestrian traffic is low, the Japanese newspaper reported.
However, asbestos fibers in exposed insulation can become airborne, potentially circulating through the building’s air conditioning and ventilation system. This is an obvious concern as the 3,635-seat venue prepares to host a worldwide sporting event.
Inhaling or ingesting these microscopic fibers presents a human health risk. The World Health Organization and the United States Environmental Protection Agency agree there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos can lead to serious respiratory diseases, including asbestosis and lung cancer.
Tokyo 2020 Facing Other Safety Issues
Asbestos at its water polo venue is the latest health issue Tokyo 2020 officials face.
Last month, the International Olympic Committee relocated the marathon event to Hokkaido over concerns of high heat levels in Tokyo and the potential risk to athletes.
“We consider it an unprecedented turn of events for the IOC to make such an abrupt proposal with no consultation or discussion whatsoever with the host city Tokyo beforehand,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told the Kyodo News.
Tokyo was selected as the host city of the XXXII Olympic Summer Games in 2013. It is the second time Japan’s capital city will host the Summer Games, the first being in 1964. The opening ceremony will be held July 24.