For the 22 years that the abandoned factory has stood vacant in Holbrook, Massachusetts, neighbors never gave a thought to malignant mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease. But now that the property’w owner has allowed renovation work to begin and asbestos warning signs have appeared in the vicinity, residents are crying foul and seeking help from local authorities.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic material that causes mesothelioma, asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer, It was widely used throughout much of the 20th century until the Environmental Protection Agency warned of its dangers. Since that time its use has been largely curtailed and explicit regulations have been put in place for how it is to removed from a contaminated site. But those rules are apparently not being followed at the site in Holbrook. Though the town issued a cease and diet order on the work in December, that issue was disregarded, prompting a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to the property owner read, in part, “The town’s cease and desist work order was disregarded. It is clear that your firms either do not understand the state, federal and local regulations or have intentionally chosen not to follow them.”
While authorities struggle with the owner, residents like Carmella Silva are worrying about the risks of mesothelioma to their family. They say that there are asbestos warning signs everywhere they look near the renovation, and point to the fact that the plastic sheeting that is there to prevent asbestos fibers from contaminating the neighborhood are torn and blowing in the wind. “When I called Town Hall, I was told nothing could be done. It was out of their hands. That’s when I started calling the EPA,” Silva said. “I kept calling, and he kept coming down.”
The property’s owner has already been fined over $50,000, but that has apparently had little effect, in much the same way that asbestos owners ignored the warnings of mesothelioma risk to those who would be working with their products in the past. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need help securing your rights, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.