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Could asbestos clean-up lead to pedestrian injury?

The U.S. Air Force has leased a plot of land on Ipswich’s Great Neck peninsula since 1943, using a facility it built for researching radar technology that was used during the Cold-War. The Air Force stopped operations at the site nearly two years ago, and as part of the lease agreement, the government is tearing down all of the buildings it constructed on the site.

As those who live on Great Neck know, the Air Force site is in a residential neighborhood. And while the purpose of demolishing the buildings is to make the land natural again, demolition crews have to deal with some hazardous materials that could cause serious health issues if they are not properly handled. Right now, crews are working on removing asbestos.

As many people in Massachusetts know, asbestos can cause serious health problems if a person is exposed to it. Many people who have been exposed to the material have acquired deadly diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms often lay dormant for years, so victims may have no idea they need medical attention.

In this particular situation, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reassured pedestrians that they would be safe from exposure as long as they stayed out of the construction site. However, the crew has to spend hours exposed to the harmful material. Although knowledge around asbestos exposure has improved greatly over the years, it doesn’t mean workers aren’t at risk for injury or disease. If a worker has acquired a disease that may have been related to asbestos exposure, his or her employer can be held accountable through workers’ compensation. Seeking legal advice is a good way to start learning about the options available.

Source: The Salem News, “Workers cleaning up asbestos at old antenna-testing site,” Jonathan Phelps, March 25, 2013

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