BOSTON (WWLP) – Two Massachusetts landlords are being charged with 106 counts of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act in connection with asbestos at apartments in Lowell and Fitchburg.

According to a news release from the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey, the brothers and their four companies have been charged with illegally demolishing, storing, and transporting asbestos waste at apartment houses marketed to college students. On Wednesday, 68-year-old Christopher L. “Christie” DeRosa is charged with 28 counts and 62-year-old Steven J. DeRosa with 22 counts of Clean Air Act violations.

Greenscape Property & Building Construction Services LLC and Greenscape Property and Building, LLC, New Hampshire entities are charged with six counts each that are allegedly responsible for the Fitchburg violations.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, mostly fibrous mineral that has been used in a variety of building products and industrial settings over the years because of its resistance to heat, fire, and many caustic chemicals.

The physical properties that give asbestos its resistance to heat and decay are also linked with a number of adverse human health effects. Asbestos tends to break apart into a dust of microscopic fibers that remain suspended in the air for a long time. When inhaled, these fibers can cause:

  • Asbestosis, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing progressively more difficult.
  • Cancer, most frequently of the lungs.
  • Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the chest and abdominal membranes.

Symptoms can take up to 40 years to develop, all can lead to death, and each exposure increases your risk.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) must be notified before any work is conducted with suspected asbestos-containing material to ensure proper removal and disposal.