- Office of the Attorney General
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Marion Asbestos Abatement Company and Owners Charged With Illegal Asbestos Work and Causing Reckless Injury to Worker
BOSTON — An environmental services company and its owners have been indicted on 98 counts in connection with worker safety violations and illegal asbestos work conducted in New Bedford, Fall River, Dartmouth, North Andover, Stoughton, Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Brockton, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced today.
Franklin Analytical Services, Inc. of Marion and its owners, Thomas J. McCoog, Sr. and Amy Franklin McCoog, also of Marion, were indicted by a statewide grand jury on 32 counts each of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act. The company and Thomas McCoog were also charged with one count each of reckless assault and battery causing serious bodily injury after an asbestos worker fell several stories through a roof after being repeatedly denied protective safety equipment.
The AG’s Office alleges that the defendants conducted illegal asbestos work at sites that include former industrial and construction sites in New Bedford, Fall River, Dartmouth, and North Andover, and illegally transported uncovered asbestos waste through Brockton, West Bridgewater and Bridgewater while en route to illegally dispose of asbestos waste at a recycling center in Stoughton.
The defendants will be arraigned on the charges in Bristol Superior Court, Essex Superior Court, Norfolk Superior Court, and Plymouth Superior Court at a later date.
Asbestos is a hazardous material and known human carcinogen regulated under the Clean Air Act. It is used as fire proofing in a wide variety of building materials, from roofing and flooring, to siding and wallboard, to caulking and insulation. and is especially prevalent in older construction. If asbestos is improperly handled or maintained, fibers can be released into the air and inhaled, devastating the lungs, causing scarring, malfunction and potentially life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Once disturbed, asbestos fibers can remain airborne, and therefore breathable for up to 72 hours. Because of the serious health risks associated with asbestos, there is no safe level of exposure.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) requires builders to conduct a professional asbestos survey prior to any demolition or renovation work, to notify MassDEP before working with any asbestos-containing material, and to carefully remove, wet, seal, and otherwise contain any asbestos-containing material to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air. Building sites and equipment must be carefully cleaned. Once removed, asbestos must be transported and disposed of at a special landfill.
For more information on asbestos and asbestos-related work, visit MassDEP’s website outlining asbestos construction and demolition notification requirements. For more information about asbestos-related worker safety and school safety requirements, visit the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards’ website for its asbestos safety program.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force, an interagency unit that includes prosecutors from the AG’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the AG’s Office, and investigators and engineers from MassDEP. The Strike Force is overseen by AG Campbell, MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper and investigates and prosecutes crimes that harm the state’s water, air, land or that pose a significant threat to human health, safety, welfare or the environment.
These charges are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General David Wittenberg and Assistant Attorney General Laila Atta, both of the AG’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force Division, with assistance from Massachusetts Environmental Police detectives assigned to the AG’s Office, Supervising Investigator Greg Reutlinger of the AG’s Fair Labor Division, Asbestos Program Environmental Analyst Erin Ferreira-Jose, Asbestos Section Chief Colleen Ferguson, and Regional Enforcement Coordinator Cynthia Baran of MassDEP’s Southeastern Regional Office, Asbestos Section Chief Grady Dante of MassDEP’s Northeastern Regional Office, Investigator Steve Spencer of MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force, and Industrial Health and Safety Inspector Jeffrey Finnegan of the Department of Labor Standards.