When asbestos is removed from a building during a demolition or renovation process, the asbestos must first be inspected by a certified asbestos contractor and sent to a hazardous materials testing lab for confirmation that the substance is, in fact, asbestos. After the presence of asbestos is confirmed, a building owner, with the help of a certified asbestos abatement contractor, must submit an asbestos abatement plan to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and apply for an asbestos abatement permit.
Once the permit is granted, a certified asbestos abatement contractor must perform the work with properly trained employees who are provided with required safety equipment, including protective clothing and respirators or ventilators. The asbestos must be removed carefully, so as to prevent anyone from being exposed to the deadly fibers. This may involve painting exposed asbestos with a heavy coat of sealant to prevent dust from escaping. Regardless of what is needed to remove the asbestos-laden materials, the material must be wet down to suppress most of the dust and placed in approved containers. The containers must be sealed and taken to an approved hazardous waste disposal center. Sometimes, this involves taking the asbestos to an approved recycling center.
According to a recent news article from the Worcester Telegram, a recycling center in Fitchburg has been cited for asbestos violations. MassDEP was the agency that levied the fines against recycler after agency inspectors allegedly observed dry pieces of asbestos-containing insulation that had apparently come from an old boiler. All of this asbestos debris was just sitting in an open dumpster, and there was dust mixing with the air at the recycling center.
The reason asbestos fibers are so deadly is because, when they are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lining of the lungs. The outer layer of tissue where they become embedded is known as the mesothelium. Once there, they can metastasize into a deadly form of cancer know as mesothelioma. If the cancer forms in the lungs, it is known as malignant pleural mesothelioma. If it forms in the chest, it is known as malignant pericardial mesothelioma, and if the tumors form in the stomach, they are known as malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. All types of mesothelioma are deadly, and once a patient learns they have the condition, they usually only have a very short period of time to live. It is for this reason that surviving family members often file Boston malignant mesothelioma lawsuits.
In the case of the Fitchburg recycling center, MassDEP noted that asbestos waste is required to be stored wet in leak-proof plastic containers and covered with warning labels. This is required so workers and the general public are not exposed to the deadly fibers.
In addition to the fines assessed on the recycling center, MassDEP will be requiring the company to hire a licensed asbestos abatement company to come to the recycling center, remove the asbestos and take it to an approved hazardous waste facility. The company will also be required to acquire an approved asbestos storage container and update its operating permits before handling any new asbestos material.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Fitchburg recycler is fined for asbestos violations, November 18, 2015, Worcester Telegram, by News Staff
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Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Shipyard Workers, July 30, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog