A federal judge handed out a one-year jail sentence to an Ohio man who pleaded guilty to illegally disposing of asbestos.
John J. Mayer, 52, was sentenced last month by U.S. District Court Judge James Carr. According to the Toledo Blade, Mayer pleaded guilty last July to charges that he violated the federal Clean Air Act.
“I’m sorry for doing the wrong thing, not just because I got caught, but because it was the wrong thing,” Mayer told the court during his sentencing. Mayer admitted that in 2010, he and workers in his employ removed scrap metal from a former manufacturing plant and in the process filled 82 bags with insulation that contained asbestos.
Several of the bags were found dumped in various neighborhoods in Toledo, Ohio.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was very useful for insulating and fireproofing buildings but is now known to be toxic to humans. It has been largely phased out of U.S. construction since the 1970s, after health officials and the public became aware of its dangers. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can lead to serious diseases such as mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer.
Because asbestos-containing materials are still present in thousands of public and private buildings in this country, strict state and federal regulations for its handling and disposal are enforced to protect the public from exposure to asbestos.
According to the Blade, Judge Carr pointed out during the sentencing that Toledo has many older buildings that contain asbestos and emphasized the need for enforcing the laws regarding proper disposal of this toxic substance. “It’s a serious offense, and it’s something that when the government successfully prosecutes someone that the public becomes aware of that and hopefully it deters similar conduct,” said the judge.
Prosecutor Gene Crawford pointed out that Mayer chose disadvantaged neighborhoods in which to dump the contaminated waste, declaring, “They don’t deserve this.”
In addition to serving the year-long jail sentence, Mayer will pay a fine of $2,000.
A co-defendant, Timothy Bayes, 32, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27, 2014, according to the Blade.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation