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Massachusetts Files $1 Million Claim to Clean Up Asbestos in Walpole

Officials in Massachusetts have filed a $1 million claim for funds to clean up more than 100 years of pollution from companies, Dow Jones Newswires reported recently.

Among the companies the state is requesting money from is the predecessor to W.R. Grace & Co., which, as the Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog has previously reported, was responsible for operating the vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana as well as several plants that processed the asbestos-tainted vermiculite.
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Mesothelioma in Massachusetts is a serious form of cancer that is deadly and incurable. Research has shown that the median life expectancy after diagnosis is about 12 months. Our Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers have seen the destruction this cancer and other asbestos-related illnesses can do to a family.

According to the article, factories around the 22 acres of land in water in the state’s Blackburn & Union Privileges Superfund Site were contaminated with asbestos, arsenic, lead and other hazardous substances.

This latest proposed settlement follows a roughly $13 million agreement last year with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It includes $300,000 to help fund state-run groundwater restoration projects and $575,000 for other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service projects.

The company that preceded W.R. Grace & Company manufactured asbestos brake linings and clutch linings at the property from 1915 to 1936, the state said. A predecessor to another party in the settlement, Tyco Healthcare Group, LP, later ran a textile factory there from 1946 to 1983 and used caustic solutions.

W.R. Grace ran the Libby mine from 1963 to 1990, when it was shut down. The mine operated beginning in 1919 and shipped — at its peak — about 2 million tons of asbestos-laced vermiculite throughout the country. Plants across the United States heated the vermiculite and turned it into insulation, peat moss, ceiling and floor tiles and other commonly used products. The U.S. Navy was a large importer of the material and used it on ships and in shipyards. The Libby mine produced about 70 percent of the country’s vermiculite.

In Libby, where many people worked at the plant because it was a main source of employment, hundreds have died and many have fallen ill because of asbestos-related diseases. Some have noted that the town was coated in a film caused by the mine and its workers.

These microscopic asbestos flakes were ingested by workers, their families and anyone who lived nearby. And the asbestos would travel through the blood system and land on major organs, such as the heart and lungs. There, they would stay for sometimes decades before producing symptoms of mesothelioma — chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and fluid.

Because the asbestos can cultivate for sometimes 30 or 40 years before showing symptoms, many smokers would simply chalk up the pain to a smoking habit or older people to the aging process. But exposure to asbestos was preventable, as many companies and employers knew the hazardous effects, yet exposed workers without regard for the health and well-being.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S Glassman provide representation of mesothelioma victims who have been unlawfully exposed to asbestos in Boston and the surrounding areas. Call 1-877-617-5333 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

June Massachusetts Tornadoes Exposed Many to Asbestos From Historic Buildings: August 10, 2011
Massachusetts School Contains Asbestos; School Will Replace Gym: July 30, 2011
Additional Resources:

Massachusetts Proposes $1 Million Superfund Settlement, by Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires