Improper Handling of Asbestos Material is Illegal

A case from Illinois points out that criminal liability exists for improper removal of building materials that contain asbestos. A man was sentenced in federal court to five months in prison, three additional months of home confinement and $3,000 in fines. The businessman had purchased a former industrial site and had it demolished, however, he attempt to cut costs and save money by not hiring an asbestos abatement contractor to do the work.

Instead, the men he hired failed to follow federal regulations relating to the removal of asbestos. The site, once an Emerson Electric plant, was contaminated with asbestos. While asbestos-containing products have been used on a much more restricted basis in construction and industrial uses, at one time they were used in everything from flooring and roofing shingles to pipe and electrical insulation.

While many of these industrial sites have long been abandoned, the deadly asbestos-containing materials have remained, exposed to weather and the decay of time. When a property is purchased for redevelopment, a great deal of thought must go into properly testing for and removing this material.

Asbestos abatement must be done by a licensed contractor, who employs the proper means of isolating and securing the asbestos-contaminated materials, to prevent the material from becoming airborne and injuring workers removing it or those who may later live or work on the site.

Once they are removed, they must be identified and disposed of at an approved site. If you suspect that someone is illegally removing and dumping asbestos materials, they should be reported to state and federal environmental authorities.

Source: The Associated Press, “Sentencing in Metro-East Asbestos Removal Case,” May 12, 2013