If you own a home anywhere in the country and are planning on doing major renovations or demolition, and you know or have reason to know that your home contains asbestos, you simply can’t go it alone. There are laws and regulations that must be followed to keep any workers and the community in general safe from the deadly asbestos fibers.
According to a recent news article from KATU 2, a couple was just fined $21,600 for allowing an unlicensed contractor to remove some asbestos from their home. The local environmental protection agency has issued the fine against this couple.
The allegations are that the couple was planning on doing some renovations on their home, and that they knew or should have known that it contained asbestos that would be disturbed during the renovations.
State and federal law, including the United States Clean Air Act, requires that the homeowners first contact a certified asbestos abatement professional to perform what is known as an asbestos survey. The first part of the survey involves an inspection. During this inspection, the contractor will take samples of any material that he or she believes is likely to contain asbestos. The samples will then be sent to a materials testing lab where a microscopic analysis can be performed to confirm the presence of the asbestos fibers.
The lab should also be able to determine what type of asbestos is in the material. This can be helpful, because, while all asbestos can be dangerous, there are six different types of asbestos. Not only are some more dangerous than others, there are different filter requirements and maximum safe levels for depending on the type of asbestos. Regardless of the type, however, as our Boston asbestos attorneys can explain, when the asbestos is friable, it is considered the most dangerous.
Friable asbestos is asbestos that is capable of being crushed under the power of a human hand. This type of asbestos is constantly producing dust, which contain deadly fibers that, when ingested, can become lodged in a layer of tissue known as the mesothelium, where they can metastasize into malignant mesothelioma. It typically takes between 20 and 50 years for the cancer to advance to a state where the patient will notice symptoms and go to a doctor. By this point, it is typically too late to do anything, and patient has a relatively short amount of time left to live.
In this case, the homeowners were issued fines for not having a required inspection and not having a certified asbestos abatement contractor submit an asbestos abatement plan and project notification as required by law. However, it should be noted that couple has appealed the fine as they have a right to do. Whenever an administrative agency levies a fine, there is a period of time to submit an appeal, and that appeal can eventually go to a civil or administrative court of law.
In addition to causing malignant mesothelioma, the deadly asbestos fibers can also cause a serious medical condition known as asbestosis. This is a condition caused when the asbestos fibers scratch and scar the lung tissue, resulting in severe difficulty breathing. The symptoms are similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) normally associated with smoking.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Couple fined $21,600 for asbestos project on Portland home, November 17, 2016, KATU 2
More Blog Entries:
New Effort to Strengthen Asbestos Litigation, June 28, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog