Dartmouth, MA - Stemming from a project at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus, a local company is fined over $10,000 for faulty asbestos work. The 2010 demolition project at UMass Dartmouth was managed and conducted by Commonwealth Tank of Wakefield, a tank removal company. The company was hired to remove a tank during the demolition project.
According to a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) press statement, during a surprise inspection on the 24th of June, officials found damaged insulation. The DEP inspector conducted tests and it was determined that the insulation and caulking contained asbestos particles. During the surprise inspection, it was also noted that fallen concrete had damaged the asbestos-laden insulation, possibly releasing the toxin into the air.
As a precaution, the workers on site dampened the suspected asbestos with a garden hose, in the hopes of containing the toxic dust. Though it is not clear by reports, it is suspected that Commonwealth Tank of Wakefield workers are not specialists in asbestos abatement protocols.
After the discovery of damaged asbestos insulation and caulking was confirmed, work at the UMass Dartmouth site was stopped until an asbestos abatement and decontamination company could be brought in. In little less than a month after the initial discovery, the worksite and any remaining asbestos was safely and carefully removed from the area.
Due to the results from the surprise inspection, the DEP fined the Commonwealth Tank of Wakefield $10,887.
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring set of minerals that is also a known carcinogen. Mined and manufactured for its versatility, asbestos was a common material for a variety of products including building materials, vehicle parts and for the ship building industry. Asbestos is truly dangerous when it is broken up or damaged, allowing small particles to become airborne. This increases the chance of asbestos exposure which can lead to serious, if not, life-threatening health conditions, including mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity. During exposure to asbestos, small particles become embedded in the protective lining, causing extensive internal damage and eventually, mesothelioma cancer.