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Natick Real Estate Broker Fined $40k Over Asbestos Violations

Maybe it’s just us Boston mesothelioma lawyers, but it seems like there have been many more instances of asbestos-related violations lately.

It could be that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is finally getting serious about asbestos exposure, or maybe construction and real estate officials have become lax in their treatment of this potentially fatal mineral.
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Exposure to asbestos in Boston can be life-threatening if it turns into a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a rare and incurable form of cancer. Many schools have been in the news recently because they are finally cleaning up asbestos that has been in their gymnasiums, walls, piping and boiler rooms for decades.

Asbestos was used for most of the 20th Century in buildings throughout the country. New England buildings are old and historic and there’s no doubt that many schools, museums and factories were built with asbestos.

In Natick, a real estate broker has been fined $41,235 by the state’s DEP because he didn’t correctly remove asbestos. The broker has said he wasn’t the one who removed the asbestos, but rather was told to do so by a subcontractor.

In February 2009, the broker hired a contractor who didn’t have an asbestos license to remove asbestos insulation from a house in Worcester, according to the allegations. When the house was inspected by state officials along with the storage facility in Upton where the asbestos had been taken, they found the material hadn’t been removed, transported, labeled or packaged according to state regulations, the agency said.

The broker was then forced to hire a licensed asbestos contractor to remove the asbestos and make sure the home’s basement and the storage unit were no longer contaminated with the asbestos. He was fined $35,100 plus another $6,135 penalty that will be withheld as long as the broker doesn’t have any more violations in the next two years, the newspaper reports.

In lieu of a fine, the broker offered to put together an educational program for brokers who, like him, may not have been aware of the liability in such cases. That offer was rejected, he said.

I think all Massachusetts residents can appreciate that the state is going to great lengths to make sure our buildings — both old and newly renovated — are free from asbestos. By now, we all know that asbestos is highly dangerous and can lead to certain death upon diagnosis of mesothelioma.

While asbestos has never been officially banned in the United States, its dangers are well known. There is no excuse for this dangerous material to be used in our buildings so that people are put at risk. And while contractors are busy working quickly to maximize profits, they cannot overlook the dangers of renovation of an older building.

There’s no reason that buildings should still contain this very old and very dangerous natural mineral. It should not only be replaced with a safer alternative, but disposed of so no one else can be exposed and injured by it. Both construction professionals as well as real estate officials must listen up and take this seriously.

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
Leominster Developer Fined $100,000 For Not Removing Asbestos: August 30, 2011
Additional Resources:

Natick real estate broker fined for asbestos violation, by Scott O’Connell MetroWest Daily News