Massachusetts has an abundance of older homes, so plumbers and other contractors routinely encounter asbestos during renovation or repair work. State and federal rules about how to handle it are clear.
The homeowner and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection must be notified, and a licensed asbestos abatement contractor hired to remove any contaminated materials safely.
According to a report in the Worcester Telegram, plumber Francis Scavone III, 27, allegedly failed to follow the rules and was arraigned last week in Worcester Superior Court for violations of the state’s Clean Air Act. State investigators claim that when his plumbing and heating company removed an old boiler from a Worcester home in 2012, asbestos was discovered but not reported. In addition, some materials containing asbestos were left in a crawl space in the basement.
In a press release, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office alleged that Scavone is responsible for the improper removal and disposal of asbestos, a hazardous material, therefore putting the homeowner and workers at risk.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once included in many products used to build homes and public buildings. Before its health risks were widely known, asbestos was valued for many qualities including tensile strength, sound absorption, and fire resistance.
Asbestos is not likely to pose a health threat if left undisturbed. But construction work can cause asbestos-containing materials to release fibers into the air, and people who inhale them are at risk for serious diseases including mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Scavone pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released while the matter is pending. Although allowed to return to work, he was forbidden by the court from working on any jobs where asbestos is present.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation.