Federal authorities can take asbestos violations very seriously.
As an example: Three Californians now face prison after pleading guilty this week to violating federal asbestos law during a renovation project, according to the Merced Sun-Star.
Each of the men pleaded guilty to one count of breaking the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants law. Each defendant could serve at least 24 months in prison, as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
The three men are all former executives at the now-defunct nonprofit construction training company, Firm Build. They pleaded guilty to using at least nine high school vocational students and others to remove asbestos from the Automotive Training Center at Merced County’s Castle Commerce Center, from September 2005 to March 2006.
According to federal documents, the students were exposed to unknown levels of asbestos fibers when they removed and disposed of about 1,000 feet of pipe and tank insulation. The defendants knew the materials had asbestos, yet the students received no protective gear or special safety instructions.
“Exposing student workers and subcontractors at a construction site to hazardous asbestos without any precautions, and doing so in order to cut corners and save money, is more than reckless — it is criminal,” stated a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. “The guilty pleas entered today should stand as a warning that those who disregard environmental laws in the pursuit of profit will be prosecuted and will face prison time.”
Before its risks were widely understood, asbestos found its way into thousands of applications. It was desirable because of its strength, versatility, low cost, and fire-retardant properties. In the 1960s and 70s, it was proven that asbestos exposure caused devastating diseases, including malignant mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, asbestosis, and many more.
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may consider an asbestos lawsuit. Contact the experienced asbestos legal team at Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.