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Real Estate Company Fined for Bypassing Asbestos Laws

Pat Guth contributes news and insightful content for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Patricia Guth

November 12, 2012

Milford, Massachusetts - A real estate company in Milford, Massachusetts has been fined for a host of violations that may have put workers and others at risk for asbestos exposure.

According to an article in the Milford Daily News, DARN Properties LLC has been ordered to pay in excess of $28,000 for botching a 2011 renovation project at a rental home the company owned. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) says DARN did not inform the state that they were conducting a demolition/renovation project that involved asbestos materials. Furthermore, the materials in question – asbestos floor tiles – were removed without using the proper wet method, and were handled, stored, and disposed of improperly as well.

Upon learning of the violations at the Congress Street site, the state ordered the owners of the real estate company to hire a licensed asbestos removal company to handle, package, and dispose of the toxic material, which can cause lung diseases when its fibers are inhaled. The asbestos contractor was also responsible for decontaminating the dumpster where the tiles were originally stored and to be sure the area around the residential property was also free of asbestos.

Each state, as well as the federal government, has a list of laws governing the handling of asbestos-containing materials. Exposure to such materials is responsible for the development of 2,000-3,000 cases of mesothelioma cancer in the U.S. each year. Asbestos was long a common ingredient in a variety of building materials ranging from cement and insulation to shingles and siding.

Unfortunately, each year, hundreds of companies and individuals skirt the asbestos laws, especially in the building and renovation/demolition industries, resulting in unnecessary asbestos exposure.

"Owners involved with building renovation work must be fully aware of their responsibilities under the regulations to ensure the proper removal, handling, packaging and disposal of asbestos-containing materials," confirmed Lee Dillard Adams, director for MassDEP's central regional office in Worcester, the office responsible for imposing the fines.

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