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Federal Government Gives Mass Town Millions to Abate Lead and Asbestos

For much of the last century and even long before, many of the materials used to construct the average building were toxic – toxic to the workers who made the materials, and toxic to the contractors and laborers who installed the materials. While it seems crazy that deadly toxins were being used in virtually all aspects of construction, including residential homes, it is worse when you consider that producers in the industry were well aware of the harm they were causing and took whatever steps they could to keep the workers and general public from finding out.

1037536_money_in_hand - Copy (2)One of these dangers was lead paint. For many years, paint was made with lead particles, because the lead helped the paint to stick to the surface and kept the color looking brighter and sharper longer. However, lead paint tends to peel and chip when it gets old, and, when it does, children are likely to play with it and pull it off the wall. Lead paint is also sweet tasting, and this is why it was common, and in places where lead paint remains, is still common, for young children to eat these lead paint chips.

While there are many stories of lead poisoning and how it can turn people insane, the truth is that when children eat lead paint chips, it will begin to increase lead levels in a child’s blood until it results in learning disability, kidney disease, and other forms of mental and physical illness. Lead paint has been shown to significantly reduce the IQ of a child who eats enough of the paint chips and has caused a variety of developmental disorders.

There is also a problem with asbestos being used in most aspects of commercial and residential construction. Asbestos was commonly used as pipe insulation and looks like white foam wraps around pipes. Asbestos was heavily used in flooring tiles, linoleum sheeting and even carpet. Asbestos was used heavily in most forms of dry wall joints and joint compound.

According to a recent news article from the Sentinel and Enterprise, residents of the town of Fitchburg had been dealing with their children being sickened from ingesting lead paint chips, and entire families were possibly getting sick from inhaling deadly asbestos fibers. As our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys can explain, when a home with asbestos starts to deteriorate, and the asbestos-laden material is crumbling, it is what is known as friable asbestos. Friable asbestos is the most dangerous form of asbestos, other than pure asbestos powder, because, when it is friable, it is most likely to emit dust that victims can inhale and from which they can eventually become sick.

This town has many of the issues it does because with such a large percentage of the population being low to moderate income, they did not have the money to pay for expensive lead paint and asbestos abatement. To help these families, the federal government has given the town a $3.2 million grant to assist with cleanup and removal.

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Additional resources:

Fitchburg lands $3.2M federal grant to assist with lead removal from homes, September 9, 2015, Sentinel and Express, by Anna Burgess

More Blog Entries:

Can Family of Asbestos Workers Sue for Illness?, September 15, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog