Last year, an Illinois man charged with violating the Clean Air Act for illegal removal of asbestos was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined fifteen thousand dollars, and ordered to pay almost fifty thousand dollars in restitution to the Environmental Protection Agency.
During the court case, the prosecution argued that the business owner’s flagrant disregard for proper handling and disposal of the toxic material endangered the health of employees and the community surrounding the building. It was shown that by improperly handling the material, increased profits were attained by the company. Asbestos was historically used in construction and building materials and its microscopic particles can easily enter the lungs where it has been shown to cause lung cancer and other serious health and respiratory problems.
The case showed that workers hired for the job were not trained asbestos removal professionals and were not paid as such. Those employees assigned to the building were never properly trained in removal procedures. Additional evidence presented included failure to ensure that the hazardous insulation was wetted before being removed to prevent airborne particles, failure to mark vehicles utilized in the transport of asbestos, failure to properly mark the one hundred bags the removed materials were placed in, and illegal dumping of a hazardous materials in an open field in a public park, resulting in soil contamination and endangering public health.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Asbestos is a highly dangerous materials with stringent regulations for handling and disposal. If your business is involved with construction and remodeling where asbestos is present, cutting corners is not an option! Failure to follow the law endangers both the environment and your personal freedom.