When you think of Cambridge, Massachusetts, your first thought likely turns to Harvard, not to malignant mesothelioma. But town locals are increasingly concerned about asbestos contamination in a local landmark known as Jerry’s Pond, and they’re taking action to get the situation addressed.
The mesothelioma concerns revolving around Jerry’s Pond were first raised decades ago. The location provides one of the only green spaces for thousands of people living in several affordable housing locations, and though the artificial pond was a popular public swimming hole between 1913 and 1961, it has been fenced off for decades after it was discovered to be contaminated by asbestos, as well as other poisons like naphthalene. The toxins had leaked in through the soil from a nearby waste dump.
Action to clean up the site and keep residents safe from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease are originating from the city council, which voted unanimously to have City Manager Louis DePasquale begin the process of applying for an Environmental Protection Agency grant. DePasquale will confer with other stakeholders, including the owners of the site, and the Community Development Department with the intention of obtaining what is known as a Targeted Brownfields Assessment Grant, funding which specifically aims to “minimize the uncertainties surrounding the actual or perceived contamination of a specific area.
Speaking about the issue, 30-year resident Lew Weitzman said, “On a city map, this is the most dense area for low-income, minority and foreign-born residents, and bingo, right next to it is a toxic waste dump. They come out everyday and look at ‘No trespassing signs on a contaminated site. The vision we have is the opposite. This fits the criteria of an environmental equity issue.”
Asbestos contamination affecting working class areas and people is not new to victims of mesothelioma. Many of the laborers who were exposed to the toxic material were blue collar workers, and asbestos companies showed little concern about their safety. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and would like more information about your rights contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.