Asbestos in Maryland

Like most New England states, Maryland significantly contributed to United States wartime efforts through the construction of shipbuilding. Unfortunately, those working in shipyards before the late 1980s were often exposed to high levels of asbestos. This, along with the large presence of power plants, contributes to the relatively high number of asbestos-related deaths in Maryland. Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm want to provide residents of Maryland with a comprehensive account of known asbestos-contaminated sites and the state rules and regulations regarding this issue.

The following three power plants are identified as asbestos sites: Basco Power Electric, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, and Glen Bumie Powerhouse. The University of Maryland Stadium was also recently identified as an asbestos site. The following are cities where jobsites with asbestos exposure are located: Annapolis, Baltimore, Cumberland, Curtis Bay, Frederick, Hagerstown, Salisbury, Silver Spring, Sparrows Point, Street, and Towson.

Between 1966 and 1988, roughly 93,000 tons of Libby, MT vermiculite was received at the W.R. Grace/Zonolite Company site in Beltsville, Maryland. This vermiculite was extraordinarily contaminated with asbestos, and resulted in the premature death of thousands of Libby residents. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry evaluated the Beltsville site, and is conducting an ongoing effort to gather health outcome data from this facility.

The Minefields Asbestos Site is located in Street, Harford Country, and encompasses over 260 acres. The site is occupied by Camp Moshava, a Jewish children’s summer camp. In the late 1899s and early 1900s, an active mine operated on a portion of the site, producing talc, asbestos, and chromium. The US Geological Survey identified the site as one of the 22 asbestos occurrences, former mines, or former prospects in Maryland.

The State of Maryland regulates how persons work with asbestos and also regulates those who train persons to work with asbestos The EPA regulations cover four asbestos activities, the first is the removal, repair, or encapsulation of asbestos-containing materials (ACM), the second is approval of asbestos training providers, the third is regulation of persons accredited to perform asbestos-related activities, and fourth is asbestos in schools.

1. Asbestos abatement contractors–Companies that remove, repair, or encapsulate asbestos-containing materials (ACM) must be licensed to do this work and must be licensed before they do this work. The contractor must submit an application and pay a fee. The license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually. These regulations are in COMAR 26.11.21 Control of Asbestos.

2. Asbestos training providers–Companies that provide asbestos training must submit an application and pay a fee. Course approvals are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. The following initial and review courses may be approved: worker, supervisor, inspector, management planner, project designer, foreign language worker, and operations and maintenance. These regulations are in COMAR 26.11.23 Asbestos Accreditation of Individuals, and Approval of Training Courses.

3. Accredited persons–Accredited persons who perform any of the activities for which they are trained must carry the Maryland Photo Identification Card. It can be issued by a Maryland-approved training provider or by the Department. The card is valid for one year.

4. Asbestos in schools–We provide technical assistance for the public and private schools that are subject to the 1987 Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). The schools are required to have their facilities inspected for asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM) and develop a management plan for handling the ACBM. We also conduct compliance inspections in these schools and EPA Region III provides enforcement. As part of the technical assistance, we publish a quarterly newsletter, Asbestos 101.

The Asbestos Oversight Committee (AOC) formed as part of a 1983 Governor’s Executive Order sets policy for asbestos activities in state-owned facilities, including determining which asbestos projects qualify for AOC funds for abatement.

The Maryland Department of the Environment provides a list of consultants and industrial hygiene firms, which is provided only as a resource, and can be found here.

Lung cancer lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urge the Maryland public to research potential asbestos exposure sites and state regulations. If you suspect exposure, whether through occupational exposure or otherwise, or developed an illness due to asbestos exposure, contact our office immediately to protect your legal rights.

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