The United States government is cracking down on asbestos law breakers. Though the first reports of asbestos-related illnesses surfaced in Great Britain in the early 1920s, asbestos was not regulated in the United States until 1979. At this time, it was publicly revealed that asbestos manufacturing companies were actively covering up proof of the mineral’s devastating health effects. Since 1979, an extraordinary number of studies have recorded and detailed these effects. Research emerges every day of new diseases causally linked to asbestos exposure. Numerous cancers are linked to the mineral, such as mesothelioma, lung, gastrointestinal and ovarian cancers.
Because the effects of exposure to asbestos are so publicly known and reported, it is surprising that companies and individuals are still trying to get away with such serious violations. Asbestos exposure attorneys warn the public of knowing health violators such as this Massachusetts demolition company. Most violators are only caught when members of the public or brave employees report criminal acts to the proper authorities.
If you see or are asked to be a part of any unlawful behavior pertaining to the dumping or mismanagement of asbestos, report the activity to your State’s department of public health.
A demolition company from Swampscott has been ordered to pay the Commonwealth $100,000 in civil penalties for the alleged improper removal and disposal of asbestos-containing waste at locations throughout eastern Massachusetts, including the Hook Lobster Company building on the Boston waterfront.
According to the complaint, Total Dismantling and Carting Services, Inc., and its successor, The Total Group, Inc., both of Swampscott, violated the state’s Clean Air Act by repeatedly removing and disposing of asbestos-containing material without notifying the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that the work was going to occur. The Clean Air Act requires notifications to MassDEP to ensure that demolition and renovation companies are properly handling and disposing of asbestos.
“Companies are not permitted to risk public health, safety, or the environment by failing to properly handle asbestos or by failing to disclose when they are working at demolition sites that involve asbestos,” AG Coakley said. “It is especially important to take the proper precautions in a heavily traveled area like the Boston waterfront.”
“MassDEP works to ensure that asbestos-containing materials are identified and properly removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Failure to follow the right procedures is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen and inevitably results in significant penalty exposure for the violator.”
The complaint also alleges that Total Dismantling and Carting Services and Removal Specialists demolished the former Hook Lobster Building in 2008 after it burned in a fire without removing all of the asbestos-containing material first and without notifying MassDEP that it was going to perform the work.
Additionally, the company allegedly failed to use the proper containment
procedures at the Hook Lobster demolition site and during transport to
an unpermitted storage site in Revere.
The consent judgment, approved in Suffolk Superior Court today, requires Total Dismantling and Carting Services Inc., and the Total Group to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 for their share of the violations involving the Hook site as well as violations at three other demolition sites in Saugus, Malden and Swampscott. Half of that amount in the settlement is suspended provided the companies comply with the judgment and commit no further violations during a 5-year probationary period.
The actions of the demolition company are serious and could have devastating health effects on residents in the community. Exposure to asbestos is particularly dangerous because the mineral is odorless, tasteless, and invisible to the naked eye. If you suspect asbestos exposure or development of a related disease, contact a Pintas & Mullins Law Firm mesothelioma lawyer immediately for a free legal consultation.