Quincy Massachusetts, (Mesothelioma News) The cost of a demolition project in Quincy, Mass.-part of a multimillion-dollar plan to construct a new concourse road through the city’s downtown-will more than double after greater-than-expected amounts of asbestos were found on the site.
While Quincy will delay the project until all of the cancer-causing material is safely removed, mesothelioma lawyers and experts say the episode points to a growing concern with demolition and renovation work: asbestos removal can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly, tempting some developers to cut corners-or avoid the work entirely.
Known for its resistance to heat and fire, asbestos was long a popular building material-until it was scientifically linked to deadly diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs.
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos exposure, and while it can take years, even decades, to develop, the prognosis for its victims is invariably grim. Mesothelioma lawyers have had great success in obtaining often multimillion-dollar jury awards and settlements against those who have improperly used or handled asbestos. Meanwhile, mesothelioma researchers have fared less well, with a cure still elusive and the most advanced treatments only prolonging lives for a few months at best.
The Massachusetts demolition project-originally expected to cost $500,000-will now cost about $1.1 million, according to Dennis Harrington, Quincy’s planning director. As recently as mid-August, it was thought the asbestos at the Quincy Fair Mall site was limited to one section of a hidden floor that had asbestos tiling. But the city was informed in the past few days that the asbestos was far more widespread.
“It’s turned out to be about as bad as it can be,” said Harrington. “There are lots of hidden floors with asbestos material.” Demolition work will now be pushed back into the fall-several months behind schedule-to give asbestos clean-up crews time to safely remove and dispose of the material.
But Quincy’s experience is, in a way, a success story: The asbestos was found and will be properly removed. And that, say mesothelioma lawyers and experts, is something that doesn’t happen as often as it should. Countless asbestos lawsuits, they contend, have been filed-and can be expected to be filed in the years ahead-because of the negligence and sometimes outright failure of developers, landlords, and employers to properly inspect for asbestos and assure its safe removal.
Renovation and demolition work is particularly troubling, because any activity that disturbs the cancer-causing material-still present in many older structures-can cause dangerous asbestos fibers to be released into the air. Once airborne, asbestos can be easily inhaled by workers or anyone else nearby. This is how mesothelioma typically begins.
The overall project to build the new road through downtown is being funded with an $8.1 million stimulus grant from the federal government. Given the added cost of asbestos removal, the full demolition and roadway construction cost is expected to rise from just under $6 million to around $7 million.
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch called the asbestos discovery-which he says may include some asbestos that was buried at the site instead of being properly disposed of-“disturbing and troubling.”
Said the mayor: “It’s there. We have to deal with it. The city’s not picking up the tab thankfully.”
This news story was brought to you by mesothelioma lawyers Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we’ve brought relief-and recovery-to those injured by the negligence or harmful actions of others. In the process, we’ve litigated some of the country’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, helping victims of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases get answers-and justice.