SANTA MONICA—The residents of 20 apartments at 1238 and 1242 in the newly christened Tenth Street Promenade are facing a health crisis after being exposed to asbestos. In February 2016,  contractors began scraping off the 1950s era popcorn ceilings, which contained asbestos in eight empty units in the area.

Only 6 of the 20 apartments are still occupied. The residents have taken buyouts to leave the construction zone and their homes have been gutted to just wooden-beam bare bones. The buildings in the area were sold to Santa Monica’s largest developer in 2015 for $8 million, NMS Properties, Inc.

Gert Basson, who stays in a rented 1-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica for the last 20 years said to Santa Monica Daily Press, “I’ve just seen Santa Monica change so drastically; especially the makeup of the population. There’s just no more place for the creative types.”

Exposure to asbestos particles in the air can result in a deadly list of ailments: asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer and few of tenants have developed serious health complications.

NMS Properties, Inc. spokesman, Eric Rose, denies that they are the owner or property despite an official document written by their senior development associate and printed at NMS stationary was filed to the Air Quality Management District regarding the asbestos abatement.

WDR Contracting filed a permit to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) verifying the presence of asbestos in the acoustic ceilings and debris from construction.

Basson describes clouds of dust billowing into nearby open windows when WDR was performing the asbestos abatement. Tenants did not receive confirmation on the presence of asbestos until the first six months of the construction.

“There shouldn’t be any asbestos if a proper abatement has taken place. The procedures laid out in our regulations are very strict as far as not allowing asbestos in the unit to get outside the unit,” said SCAQMD spokesman Sam Atwood.

Canyon News reached out to Atwood for comment, but did not hear back before print.