The plans for an upscale neighborhood called the Greens at Rock Hill in Rock Hill, South Carolina were going along according to plan until fears of malignant mesothelioma brought much of the development to a halt last week. Reports of an asbestos landfill hidden beneath the planned site have raised significant concerns, and now the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control have gotten involved.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic material that is the single cause of malignant mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer that claims the lives of roughly 3,500 Americans every year. It can also lead to asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancers and other illnesses. The Greens at Rock Hill is part of the Riverwalk development, and was the former site of a Celanese Corporation textile plant that was a notorious polluter. In 2015 the company was ordered to pay a $14 million wrongful death award to the family of a maintenance worker who died of mesothelioma, and there have been similar judgments regarding asbestos exposure in those who worked at the plant over the years. Developers working at the site have been trying to clean it up for years, but the presence of the landfill was not made public until a former employee notified the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
Speaking of public concerns about asbestos and mesothelioma risk, developer Mark Mather said, “We are doing some excavations, and we found that we were bumping into some material we should not have been bumping into. At that point, we stopped.” This discovery took place two years ago, but since there was apparently no requirement to report it, the company simply covered up their find and moved their planned construction to avoid the toxic material. Now the area has been fenced off, residents have been notified of the issue, and the project is on hold.
Mesothelioma is a completely preventable disease: when somebody has been diagnosed, it means that they were unnecessarily (and often negligently) exposed to asbestos. If this has happened to you or someone you love, you may have a right to compensation for the damage you’ve suffered. Contact us at 1-800-966-2244 to learn more.