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UMass to Monitor Asbestos Levels

A recent news feature from the Mass Media, which is an independent student run newspaper at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston), discusses how asbestos levels at the campus are to be monitored from now on after soil samples taken from the school tested positive for what are being called low levels of asbestos after testing was performed at the end of last year.

lungsOnce the soil samples tested positive for the presence of asbestos, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) was notified, and further monitoring was ordered by the agency.  The soil samples were taken when a large-scale construction project was underway and areas of the soil were newly exposed after existing structures had been demolished.

All new construction has also been placed on hold until the soil under the new buildings can be rendered safe.  In situations like this, an asbestos abatement contractor will actually be called in to carefully excavate the dirt and haul it way to an approved hazardous waste disposal facility.  However, asbestos filled dirt cannot simply be scooped up with a front loader and dumped in a standard construction dumpster.  There must be air quality monitoring systems set up to make sure there is not any airborne release of the deadly fibers.  The construction and evacuation sight will also typically be masked with plastic sheeting or tent material to keep the asbestos fibers contained.   In many cases, the material must be wet to prevent dust from escaping as well.

The containers used to haul away the asbestos must be properly sealed so as not to allow the material to escape when driving down the highway. Unfortunately, as Boston mesothelioma attorneys can discuss during your initial consultation, many did not do things correctly, like in the case of UMass Boston, where they are taking all reasonable measures and hiring certified professionals.  In many cases, landowners will simply hire day laborers, sometimes even teenagers, and have them do the demolition work and throw the debris in an ordinary construction dumpster or even a trash can without ever telling the workers they are dealing with deadly asbestos fibers.

It appears that a vast majority of the asbestos-containing soil has been removed, and there has not been any significant release of the deadly asbestos fibers.  It should be noted that the asbestos is not necessarily harmful when it is covered by soil, but it would not remain covered in this manner during a standard construction project when the site is unearthed to build a foundation for new buildings and structures.

However, there are still many tests where the soil sample has not yet to be analyzed, so until school officials get an all clear, they are making sure all workers on the site wear proper asbestos safety equipment and are not doing any work that causes a significant disturbance to the ground until the results have come back from the materials test lab to which they were sent.

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:

Asbestos Levels Monitored at UMass Boston, April 14, 2016, The Mass Media, By Aleif Imam

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