Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey is suing GTA Co., Inc. (GTA) and other companies for illegal asbestos practices. The company ignored asbestos handling laws while demolishing asbestos pipes. Other companies in Boston and Revere have also been charged with illegally storing asbestos waste.
The negligent actions of these companies endanger residents and workers. Inhalation of asbestos can lead to diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Because of this, it is crucial companies follow current state and federal asbestos laws. Although there is no full ban of the mineral, asbestos laws help protect workers and the public from the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Corporate Asbestos Violations Endanger Public Health
GTA is an Everett-based construction company. It was hired to remove and demolish asbestos-contaminated pipes in Everett and Braintree. These water pipes ran through major city streets.
The company ignored mandated asbestos practices for safe asbestos handling and removal. This negligence put its workers and residents at risk of asbestos exposure.
In Everett and Braintree, GTA left loose asbestos debris in open dumpsters and on the ground. In Braintree, crushed asbestos debris was also buried along Sheppard Avenue. The company’s actions violate the state’s Clean Air Act (CAA).
Additionally, the attorney general’s lawsuit claims the company and its president, Gregory T. Antonelli, violated the state’s False Claims Act. The company and Antonelli lied to the Town of Braintree about its adherence to these state and federal asbestos laws.
The attorney general’s office also charged the following companies with violating Massachusetts’ CAA:
- EZ Disposal & Recycling, LLC
- EZ Disposal Service, Inc.
- Ricmer Properties, Inc.
- 413-419 Bremen Street, LLC
These companies participated in the illegal transportation, handling and storage of asbestos materials. AG Healey released a statement planning to seek justice from all guilty parties.
Asbestos Used for Decades Despite Health Concerns
Asbestos is an abundant mineral that is fire-resistant, durable and affordable. Because of these qualities, many industries incorporated it into products for decades. During this time, information grew about the serious health problems associated with asbestos.
As early as the 1940s, researchers linked mesothelioma to asbestos exposure. Despite these dangers, asbestos companies continued using the mineral in thousands of products. Workers and residents were often unaware of the risks associated with asbestos.
In the late 1970s, the U.S. restricted asbestos use, citing the negative health effects of the mineral.
However, there is not a full ban on asbestos in the U.S. Older products, materials, homes and buildings may still contain the mineral.
Asbestos becomes dangerous when disturbed and inhaled. This typically only happens during activities like repairs, remodeling or demolition. To protect workers and individuals, there are federal and state laws to regulate these processes.
Federal and Massachusetts state regulations for asbestos include:
- Notification of intent to renovate, repair or demolish a public structure or area
- Inspection of the intended structure or area for asbestos
- “Wetting” of asbestos
- Providing full protective equipment for workers
- Proper disposal of asbestos-contaminated materials
Violations of asbestos regulations are subject to fines and other legal action. To protect their citizens, officials, such as AG Healey, must enforce these laws and hold companies accountable. Asbestos victims can also take legal action against responsible companies.
Victims Hold Negligent Companies Accountable
Asbestos products have been proven to cause health issues and fatal diseases. Many victims of asbestos-related diseases have filed lawsuits against negligent companies. These individuals and their families have won compensation to cover medical bills and other costs related to their care.
Experienced lawyers in Massachusetts can help those affected by asbestos understand their legal options.
Asbestos Laws Protect the Public
Implementing and enforcing asbestos laws are crucial to public health. Some companies handling asbestos will only follow these laws if violations are penalized.
Outside of Massachusetts, other cities like Detroit are cracking down too. Holding companies, such as GTA, accountable can help prevent future negligence.
Many organizations and individuals are also demanding a more comprehensive ban on asbestos. Time will tell if Massachusetts or federal lawmakers take the next step to ban asbestos entirely.