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Medford Schools Fined for Improperly Removing Asbestos

The Medford School Department has been fined $30,000 for improperly disposing of asbestos tiling at the Curtis Tufts Alternative High School, The Boston Globe reports.

What is sad here is that not only did the school not conform to rules and proper procedures for removing asbestos, but also that this school still had asbestos in it as of 2009. As the Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog reported in September, however, Medford isn’t the only school dealing with asbestos in Massachusetts.
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The school district in North Reading was forking out about $275,000 to remove asbestos from middle and high schools there. It’s an issue that older schools in New England have despite the knowledge for decades that asbestos is dangerous and potentially deadly to those who are exposed.

Our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers are happy that schools districts are making asbestos removal a priority, but are discouraged that it has taken so long and even more frustrated that schools may be improperly removing it once they get around to finding the money to do it.

According to The Globe, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued the $30,000 fine, but later suspended it. The violation occurred in 2009 and officials decided to levy the punishment provisionally. If the school doesn’t have another violation for three years, it won’t have to pay the fine.

The school has sent two staff members to specialized asbestos removal training as part of the deal.

In May 2009, a cleanup crew took asbestos-laden tiles and dumped them in a trash container behind the school. Officials said that once they found out, they moved students to a different school so students weren’t exposed. The article doesn’t state how long the trash bin was at the school before students were moved, however.

According to a violation order cited by the newspaper, after the container was removed, it was sent to another school — Columbus Elementary School — before being returned to the Curtis school, where it went through decontamination and cleaning procedures.

State law requires that asbestos be removed in sanitary conditions that reduce the possibility that others are exposed. Medford workers failed to use water in the removal, seal the work area and clean the air with purification devices when removing it.

There’s a reason the state has regulations to remove asbestos in a certain way so people aren’t exposed. And when you’re talking about removing asbestos, it is most dangerous when it breaks up and gets airborne. So, doing a proper job of getting rid of it is extremely important.

No one should have to be exposed to asbestos, but especially not our children. They are our future and if they are exposed to asbestos in school, 30 years from now they could end up with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

When someone is exposed to asbestos — even only for a short time — a mesothelioma diagnosis can result decades later. That’s why many military veterans, especially those who were in the U.S. Navy, are now realizing that working on ships in the 1960s and 1970s exposed them to asbestos and is leading to their death.

School officials must remain vigilant in getting asbestos out of their facilities and away from children. It is critical.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S Glassman provide representation of victims exposed to asbestos who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston and throughout Massachusetts and New England. Call 1-877-617-5333 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Businessman Sentenced to Prison for Exposing Many to Asbestos in New England, Elsewhere: October 5, 2011
North Reading Prepares to Remove Asbestos From Schools: September 5, 2011
Additional Resources:

Medford cited for improper asbestos removal at school, by Matt Byrne, The Boston Globe