- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Worcester Development Company Settles Allegations of Illegal Asbestos Work
Boston — A Worcester-based development company will pay $100,000 in penalties to settle allegations that it allowed workers to perform illegal asbestos work on two rental properties it owns in the city, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The consent judgment, entered today in Suffolk Superior Court, settles a lawsuit filed by the AG’s Office against Hampton Properties, LLC. The complaint alleges that the company violated the state’s clean air law and regulations by causing or allowing unlicensed workers to remove asbestos-containing boiler components and pipe insulation from two apartment buildings without taking the proper safety precautions required by law to minimize exposure.
Hampton Properties also allegedly unlawfully removed asbestos-containing materials and stored dry, unsealed asbestos in a dumpster behind the apartment buildings.
“Asbestos can endanger the health of workers and the public if not handled properly,” said AG Healey. “Our office will work to ensure that all of this company’s properties are safe for all residents and will enforce state laws that are in place to protect workers and the public from the risks posed by asbestos exposure.”
Following the violations, Hampton Properties cleaned up the buildings and safely completed the renovation work under supervision by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). In addition to paying a $100,000 penalty, Hampton Properties has agreed to hire a consultant to perform an audit of eight properties selected by the AG’s Office and MassDEP to determine whether all asbestos-containing materials at those properties are being maintained properly and safely.
“This property owner utilized untrained, unlicensed workers to improperly remove significant quantities of asbestos without following the law,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “In doing so, these workers and the public were unknowingly and unnecessarily exposed to asbestos.”
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is used in a wide variety of building materials, from roofing and flooring, to siding and wallboard, to caulking and insulation. If asbestos is improperly handled or maintained, fibers can be released into the air and inhaled, potentially resulting in life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a serious, progressive, long-term non-cancer disease of the lungs for which there is no known effective treatment. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin membranes of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart, that may not show up until many years after exposure, and that has no known cure, although treatment methods are available to address the effects of the disease.
AG Healey has made asbestos safety a top priority. Earlier this year, her office launched the “Healthy Buildings, Healthy Air” Initiative to better protect the health of children, families, and workers in Massachusetts from health risks posed by asbestos. Since September 2016, the AG’s Office has successfully brought asbestos enforcement cases that together have resulted in nearly $1.2 million in civil penalties, including those obtained from today’s consent judgement. For more information on asbestos and asbestos-related work, visit MassDEP’s website outlining asbestos construction and demolition notification requirements.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Turner Smith of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, with assistance from Senior Regional Counsel Rhonda Russian and Environmental Analysts Gregory Levins and Don Heeley, all of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester.