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Medford Arcade Finally Demolished – Asbestos and Dry Cleaning Chemicals Caused Delay

According to a recent article in Wicked Local Medford, the long-standing and now closed arcade business building is finally being demolished to make room for new construction.

warning-icon-45-1023139-mThe old arcade building has been empty for quite some time, and there has been talk about tearing it down after the roof collapsed, but there were two major impediments to taking such action. The town officials were worried about contaminating workers and the general community. One of the chemicals discovered during an inspection and present in the building was asbestos.

Asbestos was used very heavily for decades in construction across Massachusetts and the rest of the country. They used it because of its natural ability to serve as a binding agent, which was why it was particularly useful as a joint compound product. It was also used heavily because of its natural ability to resist heat, fire, caustic chemicals, and electricity. While many people did not know the material was toxic, those in the industry were very much aware of this and took steps to prevent the community from learning the truth. Some companies even marked their product as a safe alternative to friable asbestos, which is a problem, since it was still made entirely of asbestos.

In order to properly remove the asbestos, it is necessary to have a certified company come in and collect various samples of the suspected material and send it to a materials testing laboratory for chemical analysis. Once the presence of asbestos is confirmed, the asbestos abatement contractor can work with the local health department to come up with a plan to have the asbestos material removed. Trained employees with proper safety equipment, including ventilators or respirators, must remove the material.   This is a complicated process, and your Boston mesothelioma injury lawyer can speak with you about the situation if you feel you were exposed to deadly asbestos fibers during the abatement process.

In addition to asbestos, inspectors also found the presence of tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, as it is often called in the industry and by environmental workers. PCE is a chemical that was used heavily by dry cleaning businesses. While the term dry-cleaning connotes the idea that there is no liquid involved, the reality is that there is no water used, but there are a variety of chemicals that are commonly used, including PCE, which has often been allowed to seep into the groundwater around a dry-cleaning business. In some cases, the barrels have even been buried intentionally to avoid paying for hazardous waste disposal.

On the land underneath the arcade, inspectors were very concerned that PCE may have contaminated the ground water, and they did, in fact, find high levels of PCE. PCE has been linked to cancer and has other devastating effects on exposure victims’ health.

Once the building has been completely demolished and the land is cleared, there is more cleanup work slated. It will be very important to make sure the soil is clean, because there will eventually be an underground parking garage beneath a new residential building.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional resources:

MEDFORD SQUARE: Arcade building demolished on Forest Street, November 18, 2015, Wicked Local Medford, by Alex Ruppenthal

More Blog Entries:

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