Alleged illegal asbestos work in Dartmouth draws charges
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 Dartmouth and seven other communities, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has announced.
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 Attorney General’s Office reported.
The Attorney General’s office alleges that the company and its owners conducted illegal asbestos work at locations that include former industrial and construction sites in Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fall River and North Andover. They also allegedly transported uncovered asbestos waste illegally through Brockton, West Bridgewater and Bridgewater while en route to illegally disposing of asbestos waste at a recycling center in Stoughton
The company and its owners 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, the Attorney General’s Office reported.
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, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection requires builders to conduct a professional asbestos survey prior to any demolition or renovation work, to notify the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 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.