According to a recent news article from Insurance Journal, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) felt it had no choice but to send its own staff into a New York factory to stop the spread of deadly asbestos fibers, as they have become a major threat to local officials. The EPA is stepping in at the request of the local government, as the local officials do not have the resources to protect the community from the threat of exposure from asbestos.
The factory consists of multiple buildings and has been closed and abandoned for several years. The buildings were constructed at time when asbestos was heavily used in many aspects of construction and also production. While the asbestos was very hazardous to the workers when the buildings were going up, once principal construction was complete, there was no major danger for the most part. However, as there were likely renovations over the years, it is probable that workers were exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers from time time. As our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys have seen in far too many cases, it is often enough exposure in the period of a few days or weeks for a victim inhale enough fibers for that victim to develop malignant mesothelioma. Once the fibers are inhaled, or ingested, they can become embedded in a layer of tissue that protects most organs known as the mesothelium. This is where malignant mesothelioma gets its name. It normally takes between 20 and 50 years for a worker to develop malignant mesothelioma, but there is generally nothing doctors can to do detect the microscopic fibers or remove them if they are detected. They way they are normally detected is with a destructive biopsy, and doctors will typically not do a biopsy unless they patient has signs of a tumor.
The mayor became concerned about the danger of asbestos to the community as the old factory buildings continued to deteriorate. This are is not considered an EPA Superfund site, so they are not entitled to funding for asbestos abatement and demolition under the Superfund program. However, there was a clearly a need for help from the EPA, and that is why the mayor made the request.
The EPA first sent a team of inspectors in February 2016 after they were first notified of the problem in November 2015. They inspected the condition of the buildings and took samples to confirm the presence of asbestos. Even when asbestos is suspected, they will still perform a test with microscopic analysis to confirm the presence of asbestos fibers. Testing can also determine the type of asbestos and assess the level of risk of health dangers based upon the type.
While the EPA is initially paying for the clean-up costs and demolition costs, the agency feels that taxpayers should not be left holding the bag and will do whatever they can to go after the companies that are responsible for the asbestos contamination in the first place and make them reimburse the agency for any cleanup costs.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Remove Asbestos from New York Factory, September 22, 2016, Insurance Journal
More Blog Entries:
New Effort to Strengthen Asbestos Litigation, June 28, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog