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Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer News - Return to Menu

Crews move in: Supertex asbestos found in seven locations: experts


13 March 2006 - Nearby residents had not been formally notified of the asbestos find or any impending clean-up action on Friday morning, nor was there any signage posted around the site to indicate that broken asbestos had been found. In addition, the rear fence had been broken in several places through demolition work and tree felling.

A SPECIALIST crew will begin cleaning up the former Supertex site this week after environmental consultants identified seven small areas containing asbestos.
Supertex's owner Peter Felemegas commissioned the report by Sydney-based Airsafe Occupational Health consultants last week under instruction from WorkCover.

The authority's inspectors issued a prohibition notice to Mr Felemegas on Wednesday after finding broken asbestos mixed with rubble on the site, in breach of regulations

WorkCover laws require the material to be kept in tact, separated from other materials, bagged, sealed and disposed of appropriately in a landfill licensed to accept asbestos.

Mr Felemegas submitted the hygienist's report to WorkCover on Friday, which he said identified seven small areas containing a "low-range asbestos" known as chrysotile. It also noted that some of the chrysotile was 'friable' or broken. In other areas, there was no evidence of asbestos.

Chrysotile is known as the least noxious of all types of asbestos but becomes a health issue if it is old, deteriorating and breaking up.

An Occupational, Health and Safety Amendment Regulation banned it, along with all other types of asbestos in December 2003, according to WorkCover's website.

The regulation also reduced the exposure standard from 0.5 to 0.1 fibres per millimetre of air.

WorkCover describes it as a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral that can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

On Friday WorkCover would only say that a quantity of chrysotile was found at the site, despite the Goulburn Post's request for comments on levels and whether they posed a significant public health risk.

"WorkCover has issued an Improvement Notice to the (site owner) to engage a WorkCover licensed asbestos removalist to remove the asbestos from the site," a spokesperson said.

"The notice also directs the developer to properly secure the site, which shows signs of possible entry by trespassers."

Mr Felemegas will engage an asbestos removal company with a class one licence to remove the material.

He said the company carrying out the demolition last week did not hold this class of licence, although he maintained that company was certified to do the original work.

"Where the asbestos has been mixed up with rubble, it will all be dumped (at the Goulburn Waste depot in a dedicated area) as asbestos," he said.

"I hope to start the clean-up on Monday (today) and if all goes according to plan, demolition can re-commence later in the week," Mr Felemegas said.

The hygienist also recommended that all timber on site had to be cleaned. Asked whether members of the community who had picked up building materials and firewood should be concerned, Mr Felemegas said most of the firewood had been taken to the waste depot, while other timber had been picked up much earlier in the piece.

"We have agreed to close the site down, work through the issues and appoint someone with the right licence to clear the balance of the timber and remove the fibro," he said.

Mr Felemegas said while WorkCover inspectors found broken asbestos on the site, he had not been breached for taking asbestos mixed with rubble to the waste depot and denied that this had been done.

Widow files worker's comp suit against Plainville

By: Sara Capozzi, Herald Staff

05/18/2006 - PLAINVILLE - The widow and estate of a former Plainville High School teacher have filed a worker's compensation suit against the town of Plainville for exposure to asbestos.

Walter W. Caswell Jr., of Kensington, was 55 years old when he died in January 2005 of mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity. The only known cause for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, and the cancer has had an almost 100-percent fatality rate, according to Chris Hahn, executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation located in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Medical records from New Britain General Hospital, released by Caswell's attorney, document that a biopsy of the tumor found in Caswell's left lung tested positive for several antigens present in cases of mesothelioma.
The claimant alleges that Caswell developed mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos during the 34 years he was employed as an English teacher at Plainville High School.

The existence of asbestos fibers at Plainville High School was never contested. Like many buildings constructed in the 1960s, the mineral was commonly used in building materials such as adhesive, floor and ceiling tiles and insulation.

Since the dangers of asbestos were discovered in the late 1970s, several projects have been undertaken to rid the high school building of asbestos by removing the majority of those materials containing the carcinogen, according to Alan Schutz, school business manager.

Town attorney Robert Michalik Sr. said that to his knowledge, no other claims involving asbestos-related injuries have been brought to the town. The town has 28 days from Monday, the date of the filing, to contest the claim.

Whether the town will accept the claim will be made by the town's worker's compensation insurance provider, who will represent the town's interests in regard to the claim, Michalik said.

Sara Capozzi can be reached at, or by calling (860) 225-4601, Ext. 320.

DEQ Issues Fine to Oregon State Hospital For Two Asbestos Violations

By Barry-Lee Coyne

The violations stemmed from a January 2006 excavation project in which new underground pipelines were installed on the hospital grounds and the new pipelines were to be laid beneath the existing old, asbestos-covered pipelines. Oregon State Hospital

Aug-06-2006 - (SALEM) - The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has hit the Oregon State Hospital in Salem with a $10,200, fine for two asbestos violations.

On January 18th, the DEQ received a call from the hospital’s asbestos coordinator about possible mishandling of asbestos-containing material at the excavation site.

Staff from the DEQ inspected the site that day and learned that the original work plan called for excavating the area around the old water pipelines, intersecting the new pipelines with the old underground steam and water pipelines, and laying the new pipelines under the old ones.

However, after excavating the area, the contractor, Emery & Sons Construction Inc., instead cut through the old lines with a cut-off saw, removing about nine linear feet of old piping and pipe insulation that contained high levels of asbestos.

The DEQ requires that construction work which will disturb asbestos-containing materials be performed by licensed asbestos abatement contractors; Emery & Sons is not licensed to perform asbestos abatement projects.

The Oregon State Hospital had completed an asbestos survey of its facilities in 1990 which revealed the high percentage of asbestos content in the pipe insulation on the old pipelines.

The hospital had failed to inform Emery & Sons that the old pipelines were insulated with asbestos-containing materials.

At the work site, the DEQ found high levels of asbestos and noted that the old lines were already severely deteriorated even before the excavation work began.

DEQ staff also observed asbestos insulation from the old pipelines in a pile of excavated dirt and debris next to the excavation pit, as well as asbestos insulation material still attached to old pipelines in the excavation pit itself.

Insulation materials are considered “friable,” which means they will likely release fibers into the air when disturbed.

Asbestos is a danger to public health and a hazardous air contaminant for which there is no known safe level of exposure.

Asbestos fibers are a respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Amosite asbestos, the form of asbestos found in the old pipe insulation along with chrysotile asbestos, is a particularly hazardous form of asbestos, as it is difficult to minimize amosite fiber release when the material is disturbed.

The DEQ fined Oregon State Hospital $5,100 for allowing the asbestos-containing material from the old pipeline to openly accumulate.

The material should have been labeled and packaged in leak-tight containers to prevent the release of asbestos into the air and limit the risk of public exposure to asbestos fibers. The DEQ also fined the hospital $5,100 for allowing Emery & Sons, an unlicensed asbestos abatement contractor, to perform asbestos abatement work.

In conjunction with the incident, the DEQ penalized Emery & Sons $3,600 for conducting an asbestos abatement project without being licensed.

Oregon State Hospital has until August 18th to appeal the penalty; Emery & Sons has an August 17th appeal deadline.

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