In a story that underscores the dangers of asbestos and the serious nature of the laws surrounding its handling, two Ohio men were indicted on federal charges last week for illegally disposing of the toxic material.
As reported in the Toledo Blade, John Mayer, 52, and Timothy Bayes, 32, were charged in U.S. District Court with violating the Clean Air Act and regulations involving the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing material.
The alleged asbestos dumping incident happened in 2010. Mayer directed individuals to remove insulation containing asbestos from metal boilers, duct work, and pipes in the basement of a shuttered manufacturing plant he had rented in Toledo, according to the allegations in the indictment. Mayer intended to sell the metal as scrap.
The indictment alleges that he had Bayes take 82 garbage bags containing the asbestos debris to three locations in Toledo: a vacant house, an alleyway, and an unspecified location, according to the Blade. Bayer was allegedly paid $150 to $200 for doing this. However, the law requires that asbestos-containing material be disposed of at a licensed facility.
The United States has had strict regulations around the removal of asbestos-containing products since 1971 when the material was declared a hazardous air pollutant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Blade reports that asbestos-containing materials must be wetted as they are removed, a worker trained in federal asbestos regulations must be present, and Toledo’s Division of Environmental Services must be notified. Prosecutors say none of these steps were taken.
“These defendants are accused of ignoring the laws and regulations that are in place to protect the public,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach in a press release. “Protecting the environment, including the air we breathe, is a priority of my office and the Justice Department.”
The investigating agencies in this case are the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Exposure to asbestos can cause serious illnesses including asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, an incurable cancer.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos and developed an asbestos cancer such as malignant mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. A successful asbestos lawsuit may provide you and your family with funds for medical bills and other necessities. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to find out if an asbestos attorney can help.