The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has slapped an $18,312 fine on a Boston company for failure to follow safe asbestos removal practices.
Its inspectors observed workers from the environmental remediation firm Envirogreen removing asbestos-containing shingles from a residence in Worcester, Mass., during a September 2012 inspection. The inspectors reportedly witnessed the workers removing the toxic material without making an attempt to minimize breakage, which led to numerous dry and shattered uncontained asbestos-containing shingles lying on the ground.
Crumbling and dry asbestos fibers can easily become airborne. Once airborne, asbestos fibers can be inhaled, which can lead to serious and fatal illnesses such as mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, according to the National Cancer Institute.
MassDEP regulations require that contractors take steps to minimize the risk of airborne asbestos by wetting asbestos-containing materials prior to removal, carefully moving them to minimize breakage, and sealing the debris in leak-tight containers.
Envirogreen must now follow all MassDEP asbestos requirements and pay $10,000 of the fine. MassDEP has agreed to suspend $8,312.50 of that penalty provided the company does not have repeat violations for one year.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, said Lee Dillard Adams, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. Following prescribed regulatory work practices is imperative to protect workers, as well as the general public and environment.
If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today to learn more about your legal options, which may include a mesothelioma lawsuit.