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June 23, 2018

Essex firm faces $125K fine in asbestos case

BOSTON — An Essex-based demolition company has been ordered by the state Attorney General’s Office to pay up to $125,000 in civil penalties to resolve allegations of improper handling and disposal of asbestos during the demolition of a building in Worcester.

According to the complaint, filed Thursday with the consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court, McConnell Enterprises Inc. — a state-licensed asbestos removal contractor that is headquartered on Icehouse Lane in Essex but has its equipment yard in Braintree — uncovered piping wrapped with asbestos insulation during demolition of Worcester’s former Crompton and Knowles building in 2011. The material was left hanging three stories above the ground, putting workers and others in the area at “risk of contact with harmful fibers” for an extended period of time, the AG’s office claims.

A spokesman from McConnell’s Essex office did not return a phone message Friday seeking comment.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley, in a prepared statement, said the case is one she is taking seriously.

“Our office takes the mishandling of asbestos very seriously because of the health effects,” Coakley said. “Companies working with asbestos-containing materials must be held to the highest standards of care as ordered under our state air laws and regulations.”

The complaint further alleges that McConnell also failed to follow proper notification procedures, preventing the state Department of Environmental Protection from conducting appropriate oversight of the company’s asbestos removal activities.

“Licensed asbestos contractors are fully aware of the removal, handling, packaging and storage requirements that must be followed when dealing with asbestos-containing materials and of the requirement to provide notification to MassDEP in advance of this work,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and following the rules is imperative to protect workers as well as the general public and environment. Failure to do so will result in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”

The AG’s office alleges that, in order to secure payment under its demolition contract with the city of Worcester, McConnell falsely certified that it had complied with the applicable laws and regulations, violating the Massachusetts False Claims Act. The complaint also alleges various violations of the commonwealth’s air pollution prevention statute, its asbestos regulations, and its solid waste management statute and regulations.

Under the settlement, McConnell must pay $82,500 in civil penalties to the commonwealth and another $42,500 in civil penalties if it fails to conform to waste regulations over the next 18 months, according to a statement from the AG’s office.

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Essex firm faces $125K fine in asbestos case

Asbestos cleanup sparks concern at Cole Harbour school

Two parents whose children attend a Cole Harbour elementary school say they’re concerned that they weren’t notified of an asbestos removal operation at the school over the Christmas holidays.

Laurie and Tyler Berdan learned of the asbestos cleanup at Colonel John Stuart Elementary School while walking their dog with their kids on the property over the holidays. Tyler noticed some trucks doing work on the school and spotted a sign on the door indicating that asbestos was being removed.

Laurie said she contacted the school board once classes were back in session and was told parents weren’t informed because there was no health risk.

“Well, I guess we differ in that opinion,” she said Wednesday. “We’re talking about asbestos. Yes, there is a health risk. It’s pretty well-documented.”

Asbestos, a construction material frequently found in older buildings, can cause cancer or scarring of the lungs when inhaled in large quantities. The federal government’s guidelines on asbestos say it does not pose a significant health risk when it is enclosed in a product and is not disturbed.

Laurie said she’s confident that the school and school board have taken all the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the students and staff. But she said parents should have been notified of the operation.

“I’m sure they wouldn’t have the kids at the school if the air quality tests didn’t come back within the realm (of safety),” she said. “I’m absolutely positive that they’ve done everything correct. But I also think that we kind of have the right to know.”

After learning about the asbestos removal, the parents were left with unanswered questions.

“When was it found? How was it found? Was it disturbed? How much of it was there?” Laurie asked. “Parents should have the right to assess any sort of health risk.”

Tyler said there was no effort to inform anybody, “regardless of whether the risk was higher or lower or virtually non-existent.”

Doug Hadley, the spokesman for the Halifax regional school board, said ceiling tiles were removed from most of the school over the holidays in preparation for a lighting retrofit planned for this month.

“It was recognized that the ceiling tiles, because of their age, would have contained asbestos,” he said. “It actually was a proactive measure. There was not any immediate concern.”

Hadley said that due to their age, about 75 per cent of schools in the board’s jurisdiction may have asbestos. But he emphasized that as long as the material isn’t disturbed, there is no risk to health or safety.

Although the board doesn’t have a policy on informing parents of asbestos removal, Hadley said after the Berdans’ complaint, parents at Colonel John Stuart Elementary School will be notified about the recent work.

“Typically, we would not inform parents of that type of removal because it only takes place during times when no students or staff are in the building,” he said. “If it had occurred during a time when the building was going to be occupied, we would have made that notification.”

But since more schools may be facing similar work in the future, the board will consider notifying parents at those schools, too.

“It gives us some thought that maybe, just to be on the proactive side of things, that we let parents know what the scope of the work is before it happens.”

Hadley said tests conducted at Colonel John Stuart Elementary School showed acceptable air quality.

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Asbestos cleanup sparks concern at Cole Harbour school

Appeals Court upholds asbestos convictions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the convictions of two men found guilty of violating federal environmental laws during the demolition of a Chattanooga textile mill that contained large amounts of asbestos.

James Mathis and Donald Fillers were convicted in 2012 of conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act in demolishing a textile mill without properly removing asbestos. Prosecutors said the demolition allowed asbestos, which can cause cancer and other fatal diseases, to become airborne.

Fillers was given a four-year prison sentence and fined $20,000, while Mathis was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In challenging their convictions, both men claimed there was insufficient evidence in their case.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that there was plenty of sufficient evidence to convict the men, and affirmed a district court’s ruling.

Particularly in the case of Fillers, the court said “ample evidence exists … that Fillers knowingly acted with others to unlawfully remove asbestos from the site.”

During the three-week trial, witnesses testified that asbestos littered the demolition site. An employee of a nearby daycare facility testified that the air in the area was so contaminated that children at the daycare were unable to play outside, according to court documents.

Fillers’ violations include failure to wet the material containing asbestos during removal and failure to containerize and timely dispose of the material.

Owners and operators of demolition activities must give a notice — including a description of the location and amount of asbestos — to the Environmental Protection Agency 10 days before demolition.

Prosecutors said Mathis acted fraudulently by agreeing with Fillers to file a false 10-day notice, which vastly understated the amount of asbestos at the site.

“The jury … had ample evidence to conclude that Mathis knowingly violated the removal requirement,” the appeals court said.

Mathis’ attorney did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press. However, Fillers’ attorney, Leslie Cory, said she’s disappointed with the ruling and planned to discuss options with her client.

“Mr. Fillers has several options,” said Cory, who declined to elaborate. “I’m going to go over them with him and he’ll make the final decision of what he wants to do next.”

David Wood, another defendant in the case, was found guilty on similar charges and given a 20-month prison sentence. Fillers’ company, Watkins Street Project LLC, also was found guilty and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.

Original article – 

Appeals Court upholds asbestos convictions

Shrader Law Announces New Shipyard Asbestos Resources

Shrader Law Announces New Shipyard Asbestos Resources

Individuals Affected By Asbestos Exposure Now Have Improved Options

Houston, TX (PRWEB) December 19, 2013

Shrader Law is a reputable law firm that specializes in mesothelioma litigation, and it now offers enhanced resources for those who were exposed to asbestos in shipyards.

Whether individuals have been suffering with mesothelioma for months or years or are just starting to show symptoms of mesothelioma related to asbestos exposure, they can obtain the information they need through Shrader Law. The law firm’s website provides individuals with enhanced resources regarding where shipyard asbestos exposure took place, dates when individuals may have been exposed to it, and common symptoms that individuals who have been exposed to this material may exhibit. Individuals often want to know more about their potential exposure to asbestos before talking to a lawyer about their rights, and they can find the information they need online at Shrader Law’s website.

Shrader Law is a full-service litigation firm that specializes in all types of asbestos cases. The firm understands what it takes to successfully obtain a settlement through negotiations or a ruling in the client’s favor in a courtroom. From the initial consultation, when a lawyer will review the client’s rights and options in detail, to the final stage of a court ruling, this is a law firm that will stand by its clients while also fighting for their rights and interests.

Exposure to asbestos can ultimately lead to the development of mesothelioma, a serious and life-threatening condition. This form of cancer can cause pain and suffering, expensive medical bills and heartbreak for friends and family of the individual. Those who have been affected by asbestos exposure should learn more about their rights. Shrader Law is a reputable law firm that has successfully represented the interests and fought for the rights of many clients over the years, and it continues to fight for clients’ rights in asbestos cases today.

About

Shrader Law is a widely known litigation firm that specializes in personal injury law, and it has considerable experience trying asbestos-related cases. The law firm strives to achieve the best results for its clients as permitted under the law, and its experience in these cases can be invaluable. When an individual believes that he or she has been affected negatively by asbestos exposure, Shrader Law can help. The law firm can be reached by phone at 713-782-0000.


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Shrader Law Announces New Shipyard Asbestos Resources

Asbestos concerns at Kimberley community

Children in a third Kimberley Aboriginal community are using an abandoned building believed to contain potentially deadly asbestos as a playground, the State Opposition has claimed.

Labor MLC Stephen Dawson last week stepped up his calls for the State Government to establish a register of asbestos buildings in Aboriginal communities in the wake of the latest revelations about the small community of Wangkatjungka, about 130km from Fitzroy Crossing.

In July, The Kimberley Echo revealed dilapidated asbestos buildings in two Kimberley communities had remained unfenced and without signage for years, with children at times playing in them.

“A couple months ago we raised the issues of asbestos in Bayulu and Beagle Bay communities, and from that a range of communities have started to contact me with similar concerns,” Mr Dawson said.

“In respect to Wangkatjungka, I had someone in the community check out this building for me and (they) were sure there was asbestos in this derelict building that needed to be removed.”

Mr Dawson said the community had recently hosted a sporting carnival and he believed the building was also used as temporary accommodation.

“It needs to be boarded up immediately… I’ve called on the Government to do a bit of an audit in these communities to establish where the asbestos is so it can be removed,” he said.

“I haven’t received any action on it and I do have a real fear that in 20 or 30 years’ time we will have a cohort of Aboriginal people who are all suffering mesothelioma or asbestos-related diseases.”

“That’s essentially what happened when there was asbestos mined in places like Wittenoom 30 or 40 years ago.”

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier said because the land at Wangkatjungka was leased, the buildings were the responsibility of the community.

However, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was working with the community to find a solution.

He said asbestos was in the past a commonly used building material and it was likely a number of buildings across the State, including those in Aboriginal communities, contained asbestos.

“Concerns primarily arise when the material is disturbed,” he said.

“When asbestos is identified as potentially dangerous we work quickly to ensure community safety.

“In addition, the Aboriginal Lands Trust, through DAA, is working with key State and commonwealth agencies to develop a risk management framework, aligned to government policy directions.”

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Asbestos concerns at Kimberley community

Campbell residents claim they were not told about asbestos removal

Asbestos removalists have begun taking away contaminated soil piles from the development site in Campbell.
ABC Asbestos removalists have begun taking away contaminated soil piles from the development site in Campbell.

Residents living near the Campbell section 5 development in Canberra’s north are angry they have been given no warnings about the removal of asbestos from the site.

Contractors wearing protection suits have been helping to move piles of dirt from the fenced-off area near the corner of Constitution Avenue and Creswell Street.

Local resident Fiona Cotton says the only warning was a few small signs along the fence.

“There’s a lot of publicity about Mesothelioma and airborne (asbestos) particles,” she said.

“Now these workers are accredited asbestos removalists but I just think the main issue is that we’ve got no assurances about what is going on.

“We should have been informed so we could drive the other way to avoid the area.”

The asbestos contamination is thought to have been caused by builders rubble dumped during the 1950s.

Another neighbour Mark Anderson says few details have been released by the Land Development Agency (LDA) which is overseeing the project on ACT Government land.

“We knew that this material was going to be removed from the site at some stage,” he said.

“What we didn’t expect was that it would start without any advice to the people who live around.

“There’s been a lot of high wind days for the past few weeks and I can’t see much evidence of dust suppression although I did see a water truck there this morning.”

‘Extensive consultation’

However the LDA says extensive public consultation has taken place including letters and seven newsletters sent to residents.

LDA Chief Executive David Dawes says site is being managed in accordance with strict environmental controls.

“The LDA is working with the Environmental Protection Agency and ACT WorkSafe to ensure that these measures are being rigorously adhered to by the contractor,” he said.

“A strict stockpile management protocol is being undertaken and an environmental consultant is on site overseeing all stockpile movements of asbestos contaminated material.

“The environmental consultant is also ensuring that appropriate dust suppression methods are being undertaken.”

He says air quality monitoring for asbestos contamination is continuing and to date the monitoring has been clear.

The LDA has also announced it will post on its website the weekly program of works to be undertaken on the site.

The master plan for the Campbell 5 site includes buildings for residential, retail and commercial uses plus parkland and walking paths.

Once completed the site is expected to have about 520 dwelling units.

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Campbell residents claim they were not told about asbestos removal

Increasing use of asbestos in Asia

According to the World Health Organization, about 100,000 workers die annually from asbestos-related diseases out of 125 million people who are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

What is of special concern to us is that based on a survey by the US Geological Survey, the use of asbestos is on the rise in the construction industry in Asia and the Middle East. With the ongoing construction boom in the Philippines, it is a vital concern for many of us, just how much asbestos is being installed in our buildings and homes.

Our construction workers are particularly susceptible to the dangers of being exposed to asbestos. Many of them work in substandard conditions with no protective masks or goggles or training. When they get sick, they do not get company or government benefits.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a substance that was once considered a “miracle mineral” when it was used in the building industry in the 1800s.

At that time, asbestos was found to be readily available and inexpensive making it an ideal substance for household construction offering many benefits with no drawbacks. It was very effective for thermal insulation, acoustic and moisture control, a nd it made cement strong. It was mixed into paints, adhesives, clay, metal ware and even appliances.  It filled many needs in various ways.

Why is asbestos harmful?

Inhaling asbestos fibers increases the risk of developing lung-cancer-causing asbestosis or scarring of the lungs. This may lead to the development of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that afflicts people exposed to asbestos.  It can develop decades after the asbestos exposure.

This is what happened to the emergency service workers during the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11 when more than 1,000 tons of asbestos were released into the air. The unusually high death rate of emergency service workers from cancer since the disaster is linked to their inhalation of asbestos and other toxic elements.

Ban asbestos campaign

Almost 20 years ago, a global campaign was launched to ban asbestos. It addressed marketing campaigns, availability of safer substitutes, the need to protect workers and end-users from asbestos exposure and the rights of those affected by asbestos-related injuries.

The European Union, Australia, Japan, South Korea and other countries have outlawed it, according to International Ban Asbestos Secretariat. Several countries including Japan and South Korea banned asbestos after they saw the number deaths rise. Despite the ban, asbestos continues to be a part of the construction and manufacturing industries.

Some sectors are saying that if one follows the proper procedures, the health effects are trivial, if any. However the WHO says that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic and potentially fatal, depending on exposure.

What to do about it

If your house was built in the 1970s, chances are that it may contain asbestos. If you have asbestos in your house that is in good condition, the best thing to do is to leave it alone. Avoid disturbing the asbestos material if you have to do any renovation works. Material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.

Look for signs of wear or damage like cracks, abrasions or water damage. Material that is disturbed by hitting, rubbing or handling may release asbestos fibers.

Prevent or limit access to the area to prevent touching or disturbing it.

If asbestos is found in your house, seal the material by treating it with a sealant that binds the asbestos fibers together so that no fibers are released.  This is done by asbestos professionals.

Another way is to cover the asbestos by a stable material to prevent release of fibers.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, some products that may contain asbestos are cement pipes, vinyl sheet flooring, acoustical plaster, ceiling tiles and lay-in panels, textured paints and coatings, spray-applied insulation, fire-proofing materials, laboratory gloves, fire blankets, elevator brake shoes, air-conditioning duct insulation and wall coverings.

For comments or inquiries, email amadodejesus@gmail.com

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Increasing use of asbestos in Asia

Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos

Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos
Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos

Experts have warned that home renovators are not undertaking proper precautions with asbestos and are not only putting themselves at risk, but their families as well.

While it is no longer manufactured in Australia, asbestos remains a sleeping giant in a third of the nation’s homes.

There are fears a new generation of ‘do-it-yourself’ renovators has no idea what they are disturbing.

“A lot of young people are doing this and they need to know what they are dealing with,” asbestos removalist Wendy Tredinnick said.

Terry Miller from the Asbestos Victims Association was diagnosed with asbestosis almost a decade ago after working at James Hardie’s factory in Adelaide’s northern suburbs for 20 years.

His wife died 15 years ago from an asbestos-related lung disease.

She had never worked with the material, but was regularly washing fibres out of her husband’s clothes.

“You don’t need much exposure,” Mr Miller said.

“It’s not just the person doing the job, it could be one of their kids crawling on the floor, could be the wife breathing it in.”

A survey of 1500 home renovators in New South Wales found only 12 per cent regularly wore respiratory devices – a trend experts say reflects the country.

“Hardly a week goes by here that we don’t get a phone call from someone saying ‘we just started doing this and pulled a sheet off the bathroom wall and there’s asbestos stickers on the back’,” Ms Tredinnick said.

Asbestos can be found under floor coverings, particularly on the back of lino, behind walls and even as insulation in ceilings.

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Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos

Asbestos Testing Certificate Awarded to Syracuse NY College

asbestos lawsuit at lawfuel.comSyracuse, New York – The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse, New York has recently been awarded a certification as an official testing facility for air samples by the New York State Department of Health. Named SALTs, the Syracuse Asbestos Laboratory Service will not only be able to test air samples collected from construction zones and schools for asbestos but will be able to provide businesses a clear understanding of the potential hazards in the ambient air.

Structured as a fully-functional business, SALTs is competitive with other certified testing facilities. However, the advantage of SALTs is the close association with SUNY ESF: students will have a first hand experience of analyzing indoor air quality as well as handling the complex equipment required for testing.

Though the acronym directly points to one common, yet dangerous air pollutant – asbestos – SALTs analyzes air samples for a variety of other contaminates. Students and staff of SALTs do not collect air samples but rely on clients to provide the samples for analysis.

Asbestos is a highly toxic, naturally occurring mineral used primarily in building materials before 1980. Virtually every structure built in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States contains some form of asbestos products. Generally, asbestos was combined with other materials such as concrete to strengthen the original material and provide heat insulating properties.

Friable asbestos or asbestos that has become airborne through disturbing or damaging the material poses a considerable health threat. Exposure to friable asbestos can lead to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer. For any property undergoing construction, knowing whether asbestos is present and whether the asbestos has become airborne is critical. SALTs like other certified testing facilities aims to ensure clients a complete understanding of how toxic the air in a work space is. Working unprotected in an environment with unsafe levels of asbestos or other pollutants is dangerous.

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Asbestos Testing Certificate Awarded to Syracuse NY College

Asbestos found at Ipswich PCYC

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ipswich pcyc

Asbestos found at Ipswich PCYC

THE hazardous material asbestos has been found at an Ipswich community facility used by children.

Suspect material was found under an “unused” stage at the Ipswich PCYC on Griffith Rd in May and isolated as a precaution after the advice from an asbestos removal company.

A sample was taken for analysis and lab results confirmed the presence of asbestos on sheeting at the PCYC on July 16.

Parents are frustrated they were not informed about the finding.

One parent told The Queensland Times she received no notification from the PCYC and only learned about the asbestos discovery through a third party. And she said the area in question was occasionally used by children.

A PCYC spokesperson said advice from asbestos removalists suggested the material would not pose a danger if it was left undisturbed.

The area will remain sealed and isolated until the asbestos is removed.

Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association CEO Senior Sergeant Rob Fiedler said the asbestos is due to be removed on August 26.

Snr-Sgt Fielder said any parent, member or staff concerned by the find can contact the club manager for more information.

“The area is not part of the activities area and the isolation of the area has not caused any disruption to activities and the safety of members of the public or staff,” he said.

“In any case, an air clearance certificate will be provided to ensure the area is safe prior to completion of works.

“Activities at the club are not affected and we have taken the necessary precautions. Any parent, member or staff can contact the club manager.”

Snr-Sgt Fiedler said the asbestos removalists were booked in at the first available appointment.

If asbestos is disturbed it can release dangerous fine particles of dust containing potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

Asbestos can now only be removed by licensed operators.

The Ipswich PCYC first opened 45 years ago.

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Asbestos found at Ipswich PCYC