Residents on Chestnut Street in the city of Hartford discovered over a dozen garbage bags filled with asbestos-laden insulation this week. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection officials believe that someone dumped the asbestos illegally in an attempt to save money.
“They were open to the public where anybody could have walked over the bags,” stated Brian Emanuelson, a DEP official. The eighteen garbage bags were carelessly tossed into a pile in a small field on the side of the street and were discovered by residents who lived nearby. DEP officials removed the bags and safely transported them to a landfill.
Chestnut Street resident Nancy Walker claims that this is not the first time that garbage has been carelessly left on the side of the street. Other residents told the DEP that various items, such as old mattresses, couches, and even deceased animal carcasses, have been found in the same area before – an area where neighborhood children often play.
“We have a lot of children here growing up,” stated Walker. “…if they were exposed to asbestos, we don’t know what the long-term effects could possibly be.”
The potential long-term effects associated with exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma has a survival rate of less than 1% and has no known cure. Asbestos fibers can be inhaled and will settle into the lungs, where they can remain for up to fifty years before an individual will begin to experience symptoms associated with mesothelioma.
The DEP has no suspects, but urges residents in the neighborhood to be on the lookout for suspicious dumping. “My daughters plays outside,” said Hartford resident Denell Hicks. “I just think it’s disgusting that people think this is a city dump.”