Companies Settle After Asbestos Allegations
Four companies that were involved in an asbestos debacle that caused scores of seniors to be exposed to the toxic mineral have agreed to pay more than $300,000 to settle allegations of shoddy and improper workmanship.
According to the Salem (Massachusetts) News, the so-called complaint and consent judgement serves to settle a lawsuit that was filed by the State Attorney General’s office against asbestos abatement contractor E&F Environmental Services (E&F) and its owner and manager Frank Balogh, as well as three other companies – New England Builders and Contractors, Blackstone Block Architects and TRC Environmental Corp., all for violating the rules of the Clean Air Act while working on renovations at Pioneer Terrace, a senior public housing facility in Salem.
Both New England Builders and Contractors and Boston-based Blackstone Block Architects were also alleged to have submitted false claims for payment to the Salem Housing Authority, verifying that the improper work was actually work completed in its entirety and done properly.
According to the allegations, E&F Environmental improperly and illegally removed asbestos materials from Pioneer Service during the winter and spring of 2015.
Because proper procedures weren’t followed, such as wetting asbestos before removal, it was determined that workers at Pioneer Terrace as well as residents and the general public were likely exposed to tiny asbestos particles that emanated from old, friable asbestos in wall materials, tiles, or from other asbestos-containing building products that were common prior to 1980.
The company also failed to properly store and contain the hazard, which may have resulted in additional exposure. As a result, inspection by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality resulted in the discovery of asbestos violations in nearly every building in the complex that was undergoing renovation.
Hence, countless, individuals were exposed during the rehab of Pioneer Terrace.
In addition, E&F was also accused on the same improper procedures when removing asbestos from a private home in nearby Medford.
Cutting corners where asbestos removal is involved is not only illegal, it’s stupid.
Companies who practice such improper procedures are often caught and are made not only to pay fines but often find themselves the defendant in lawsuits forged by those who were exposed to the toxin.
After all, because asbestos diseases have a long latency period, the exposed individuals are subject to their own kind of “life sentence”, waiting to learn whether or not the asbestos they were exposed to will cause them harm.