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Historic Mills in Massachusetts and Asbestos Problems

Massachusetts and New England were once the home to many operating mills.  These are large factories and warehouse buildings that have not been used in many years.  As they now sit abandoned and in a growing state of disrepair, the question becomes what to do with them.asbestos

There has been a growing trend over the last couple of decades to re-purpose old buildings like these and use them for mixed-use residential and commercial space.  In the past, people would simply put minimal dividers up and use the spaces as large loft apartments and artist studios.   However, in recent years, development companies have been buying these properties and turning them into buildings that host large numbers of luxury apartments and also have a few commercial lease spaces on the ground floor for restaurants and other commercial properties.

However, one of the main problems is that these industrial mills in Massachusetts are often filled with asbestos construction materials that are in a terrible state of disrepair, according to a recent news article from Wicked Local Milford.   As our Boston mesothelioma attorneys can explain, when the asbestos construction materials are falling apart to the point where they are capable of being crushed by the power of a human hand, they are known as friable asbestos. Friable asbestos is among the most dangerous types of asbestos because it is constantly giving off dust containing the deadly fibers, and that is what gives people mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other types of respiratory illness.

As discussed in the article, these mills were built in and around Boston during the industrial revolution during much of last century, but there was not really any thought as to what would happen to them when they were no longer needed.  This theme of only having concern with the immediate future and not about long-term consequences has been a recurring theme of the industrial revolution in terms of the use of asbestos.

While the general public was not aware of the dangers of asbestos for the most part, those in the industry were well aware that their products were killing people.  However, while they knew it was toxic, they also knew it takes an average of 20 to 50 years for a person to develop the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma.  Once they have developed the symptoms, such as shortness of breath and severe abdominal pain, they are likely to go to a doctor and be told they have advanced stage cancer, and there is nothing that can really be done.  In fact, most people do not live more than a year or two after first learning they have malignant mesothelioma.

As it turns out, these companies were far more concerned with turning a quick profit than they were about the safety of the workers and their families in 20 to 50 years, so they were willing to a take a risk and not tell the workers any of this.  As a result of this wilful and wanton disregard for the safety of their workers, juries have awarded some very high verdicts including punitive damages.

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:

Preserving industrial mills presents challenges, January 8, 2017, By Corin Cook, Boston Local Milton

More Blog Entries:

New Effort to Strengthen Asbestos Litigation, June 28, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog