Those who pass through the Toledo neighborhood that was once the site of the Champion Spark Plug factory have long been concerned about mesothelioma, the rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Their fears are well founded: the company has repeatedly been named in lawsuits regarding asbestos exposure, and even with the factory having been razed several years ago, the grounds have been known to be contaminated, and nothing has been done to clean it up. But now, a statement released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that a two-month, $1.8 million clean-up effort is about to begin following a concerted effort by the city’s mayor, Wade Kapszukiewicz.
The site’s history is well known to health advocates and those who observe mesothelioma lawsuits. Champion was an economic contributor to the area for years, but began experiencing financial troubles, in part due to the costs of litigation by those affected by asbestos exposure. Once the company was sold, the factory closed down and stood vacant until the site was purchased by Donzell Moore, the owner of Moorhouse Real Estate Development LLC for just $1 in 2013. Though there had been hopes that the site would be developed, Moore’s apparent goals were simply to strip the vacant building of its valuable metals. Once it was abandoned it became a rat-infested dumping ground, contaminated with the asbestos that it once housed. Moore was indicted and charged with a variety of violations, for which he has paid a fee of $25,274 for cleanup and $10,750 in fines. He was also sentenced to 30 days in jail with work released,e 3 years of community control and 240 hours of community service.
The asbestos that currently contaminates the site has the potential to be inhaled if it is disturbed, and this could lead to malignant mesothelioma in anybody who is near the area. As a result, the EPA has classified the cleanup as “time critical, saying, “Asbestos co-mingled with building debris remained strewn over five acres of the former factory site after the buildings were razed in 2012. The city of Toledo referred the site to EPA for cleanup in 2017.”
Anybody who has been exposed to asbestos is at risk for malignant mesothelioma, and those responsible for their exposure can be held liable for the harm that they’ve done. If you would like information about your rights following a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.