According to a recent news story from Wicked Local Framingham, a major asbestos lawsuit has been settled for $385,000. This lawsuit involved seven different parties, including the town of Framingham, Massachusetts, which is just outside of Boston.
This case primarily involved a waste disposal company located in Milford and its owner. The Massachusetts attorney general alleged that the owner of company took soil that contained asbestos from a construction job site located in Framingham and then illegally dumped the asbestos debris behind a residence in Milford, rather than properly disposing of the material.
In order to properly dispose of asbestos waste, it must be kept wet to prevent dust from escaping into the air and then sealed in approved plastic bags or containers. These plastic containers or bags must then be carefully transported to an approved hazardous waste collection facility, where it is either buried and capped or incinerated. Even though asbestos does not easily burn at normal atmospheric pressure, it can be incinerated in commercial waste disposal furnaces. However, this is a very dangerous process that must be highly controlled and regulated, and there must be various safety mechanisms in place to prevent what is known as outgassing of any poisonous fumes or particulate matter.
The attorney general further alleged that two firms involved in the construction project agreed that the asbestos-containing debris could be dumped at this improper location, and, when it became likely that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) was going to discover the asbestos, they took steps to prevent this. These steps allegedly included removing the asbestos material in unapproved five-gallon buckets and putting them in one of their garages. This was all allegedly done without the knowledge of MassDEP, but the agency eventually learned what had occurred. However, it should be noted that in a typical settlement, it is not necessary for any party to accept liability.
The proper and safe handling of asbestos is an expensive process that requires everyone involved to be properly trained and certified. They must also be provided with proper safety equipment, and there must be a mechanism to prevent workers from leaving the job with asbestos still on their clothing.
As our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys can explain, when a worker leaves the job with asbestos fibers on his or her clothing, family members at home can become exposed to the asbestos and inhale or ingest the toxic material. This can result in the victim developing malignant mesothelioma. While this doesn’t happen as much these days as it once did, the fact that it typically takes between 20 and 50 years for the victim to develop noticeable symptoms and receive a mesothelioma diagnosis is one of the reasons we are seeing so many of these cases today.
However, one of the more difficult aspects of these cases is proving where the asbestos came from. If, for example, you remember your father or other relative coming home from the job site covered in dust, you should try to find out exactly where he worked and what type of work his was doing. You can then try to figure out the sources of possible asbestos exposure.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Companies settle in Framingham, Milford asbestos-dumping case, March 17, 2017, By Zachary Comeau, Wicked Local Framingham
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School Asbestos Removal Process in Lawrence Worries Teachers, Feb. 8, 2017, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog