People often conflate the word natural with safety. However, many of the most dangerous substances on the planet are naturally occurring. Many potent poisons come from plants, and even minerals in the ground can be toxic or produce dangerous levels of radiation.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that humans have used for many purposes. Asbestos is an excellent insulator and it can slow the spread of fire. People have found ways to use it in everything from school buildings to vehicle breaks and even massive Navy ships.
Unfortunately, exposure to particulate asbestos can be dangerous. Those who inhale asbestos particles may develop irritation in their lungs and could even eventually develop life-altering illnesses, like cancer, because of asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, some people who don’t have exposure through their workplace could still end up at risk because companies don’t always follow safety rules.
A company that should have disposed of asbestos left it in a yard
The rental market in New York is competitive, so tenants might be willing to overlook quite a bit, such as the landlord leaving several large trailers from commercial trucks on the property indefinitely. It seems like a reasonable comprise for an affordable rental unit.
However, imagine that you later found out that those trailers, or at least one of them, contained improperly stored asbestos that should have been taken out of state for disposal. Imagine realizing that your house, your garage and the yard that your children play in were all potentially exposed to asbestos particles every time the wind blows.
That is exactly what happened to a family in New York, and although they have taken steps to draw attention to the issue and have it addressed, no amount of remediation at this point can undo the exposure that may have occurred in the interim.
Asbestos disposal is expensive
Once the federal government finally recognized the carcinogenic properties of asbestos and started enforcing strict rules on safety precautions for workers and disposal of asbestos, companies stopped working with it or handling it. The few that do still handle asbestos charge premiums for their services because of the risk involved.
Companies that manufacture products with asbestos and companies that help mitigate environmental risks like asbestos have an obligation to the public to properly clean up and dispose of the asbestos they handle. For those environmentally exposed to asbestos because of improper disposal methods or improper facility maintenance, it may be possible to hold the company that exposed you accountable if you or any of your family members fall ill with an asbestos-related medical condition.