The campaign, created by state Attorney General Maura Healey, will educate at-risk populations, including children, the elderly and low-income families, about protection from asbestos through a multi-faceted approach that partners state agencies with local school districts, according to a press release by the Attorney General’s Office. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’
Brady Sullivan-owned Mill West Properties in Lawrence, Mass., is now under investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after the company was believed to have been responsible for dumping toxic sandblasting grit that tested at 70 percent chrysotile asbestos.
According to New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), a number of emails were exchanged last September between several New Hampshire officials, Massachusetts environmental officials and the EPA regarding what was referred to as the “black beauty” sandblast grit. The emails also stated that 10 truckloads of the asbestos-tainted grit had been deposited in the basement cement of the Mill West Properties building, as well as in several piles outside. (more…)
Researchers have developed a vaccine that takes a novel approach to immunotherapy to treat cancer, in particular mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. The new vaccine should be easier for patients with advanced cancers to tolerate, and less expensive to administer than traditional immunotherapy vaccines. (more…)
A middle school in Uxbridge, Mass., was closed for two days last week after flooring materials that had been removed from the school during the summer tested positive for asbestos. Although tests showed safe air quality levels, Uxbridge School Superintendent Kevin Carney decided to keep children away from the building until it could be confirmed it was safe for them to return. (more…)
There is news this week that underscores the fears of our good friend Mike Crill, who has been so personally affected by the asbestos contamination in Libby, Montana. Mike has been concerned about how contamination from the W. R. Grace vermiculite mine in Libby, which operated for years in that town, would actually affect the entire country as a result of the product being exported to factories across the country, for use in making Zonolite insulation.
This week, a story in The Republican reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will provide assistance to an Easthampton, Mass., town to clean up soil that is contaminated with asbestos. The affected land is the former site of a vermiculite insulation factory operated by W.R. Grace. Although the facility closed 20 years ago, it has left a legacy of danger for residents.
According to The Republican report, Grace shipped more than 250,000 tons of vermiculite ore from its Montana mine to the Easthampton factory over a period of about 40 years.
The cleanup comes as a result of city plans to extend a scenic trail into the area, and also hopes to install a new sewer line. According to The Republican, the cleanup effort involves a span of about 1,000 feet that would be the location of the trail extension and sewer project. It is estimated that soil may have to be removed to a depth of 6-12 inches, although the EPA is still examining the area.
Asbestos exposure is linked to mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the chest and lungs, or, more rarely, the abdomen or heart. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. There is currently no known cure for meso.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. will pay a civil penalty of $55,000 to the State of Massachusetts for a violation of its Clean Air Act and Consumer Portection Act following the improper removal of asbestos from a customer’s home. The story in the Wicked Local Pembroke reports Sears contractors improperly removed asbestos when replacing a boiler in October 2004.
The news agency reports that the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court notes that Sears assured its customer that it could remove an existing boiler, which contained asbestos insulation, and replace it with a new one, safely and cost-effectively. The complaint says Sears assured the customer the workers would be properly licensed and trained.
However, the workers who arrived to complete the work – a plumber and second subcontractor – were not licensed or trained to handle asbestos. The complaint notes that the workers removed the existing boiler wearing no protective gear, did not seal the area, and dropped the boiler, breaking it open and releasing asbestos into the air when the insulation crumbled. The workers cleaned up the spilled asbestos insulation material with their bare hands, and disposed of it in regular black trashbags, the Wicked Local reports.
Asbestos dust was released into the air in the customers’ basement and first-floor area, exposing them to carcinogens. Asbestos is linked to the development of asbestos related diseases including mesothelioma and asbestosis.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), contractors need to determine whether asbestos is present pior to conducting any renovation or demolition activity. Companies doing work on a project that possibly contains asbestos are required to hire a Division of Occupational Safety (DOS) certified asbestos abatement contractor.
If asbestos is present, there are MassDEP requirements for anyone handling asbestos, including special supplies and equipment, specific work practices including setting up a containment area, air filtration equipment, packaging and labeling of waste. If the area is contaminated by improper handling of asbestos, MassDEP says, cleanup procedures specific to the job are required.
Contractors should check with their state office of Environmental Protection or Occupational Safety before beginning any project that may involve asbestos, as regulations may vary from state to state.
According to the Massachusetts complaint, Sears subcontractors never notified their Department of Environmental Protection or filed an Asbestos Notification Form when removing the boiler.
The Wicked Local reports part of the settlement will require Sears to develop and implement a customized asbestos training program for salespeople and managers, and to provide enhanced supervision on all jobs where asbestos may be present.