11/30/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Mesothelioma lawyers: Cooney & Conway
Asbestos regulators in Iowa have investigated and fined Regency of Iowa Inc., the owner of two mobile home parks, for violations of key environmental regulations.
The actions against Regency, asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers say, point to continuing problems getting developers and landlords to follow rules intended to keep the air free from harmful substances like asbestos, which has been scientifically linked to diseases including mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive form of cancer.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources levied a $7,500 fine in the wake of air-quality violations that DNR officials say occurred in 2009 at Regency’s mobile home parks in Iowa City and Huxley.
Officials cite Regency with failing to properly notify DNR about demolition plans. Six mobile homes at the Iowa City site and five in Huxley were demolished or in the process of being demolished. More troubling, the demolition proceeded without appropriate testing for asbestos, work continued even after DNR ordered it stopped and samples of debris at one site tested positive for asbestos.
Most chilling of all, according to mesothelioma lawyers who have seen similar violations and the consequences of them, is that debris from the demolition work was dumped in an Iowa City landfill—without being tested—potentially exposing individuals to asbestos during removal and transport.
Demolition and disposal of materials containing asbestos are particularly worrisome, the mesothelioma lawyers say, because of how easily asbestos can be disturbed and released into the air.
Once airborne, anyone in the vicinity can inhale asbestos fibers, potentially triggering diseases like mesothelioma, a cancer that strikes the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs. While it can take decades to develop, mesothelioma is almost always fatal—there is no cure and not even a viable long-term treatment. The only relief many asbestos victims have found is in the courtroom, where mesothelioma lawyers have often won large—and at times multimillion-dollar—verdicts and settlements against those who have negligently exposed others to asbestos.
The actions against Regency stemmed from an August 2009 complaint about air quality violations at the Iowa City park. After an inspection by a DNR environmental specialist, Regency was ordered to stop demolition until asbestos testing was completed. But in subsequent visits, DNR found that debris had been removed from the site without testing.
In September, officials took samples from debris at the Huxley park and determined that asbestos was, indeed, present. A Notice of Violation letter was issued to Regency on October 13, 2009.
DNR has the power to issue fines of up to $10,000 for violating state environmental and asbestos regulations. Regency’s fine, an agency spokesman said, was determined after taking into consideration the company’s past history of violations. Regency of Iowa City had been issued four previous administrative orders from DNR, the most recent also in 2009.
DNR says that Regency has since cleaned up the asbestos. But for those who worked at or otherwise came in contact with the mobile park sites, the worry now—and for years to come—will be what, if any, asbestos exposure they suffered, and whether they may be at risk for mesothelioma and other deadly conditions.
This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly diseases it can cause.
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