A Detroit man was sentenced to one year in prison by a federal judge for exposing workers to asbestos during a salvage operation.
As reported by the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell also ordered Anthony M. Davis, 34, to pay $168,000 for violating the Clean Air Act.
Federal authorities say that Davis purchased a former paper mill in Otsego, Michigan, in order to salvage scrap material from a powerhouse building that held large boilers and turbines. However, some of the salvaged metal pipes were wrapped with asbestos, which was once widely used for insulation and fireproofing.
Davis had workers collect the asbestos-containing debris without first wetting it with water to keep it from becoming airborne as required under federal guidelines. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this released a “significant” quantity of asbestos into the air from several floors of the building.
Davis’ negligent actions put not only the workers at risk, but the public as well. When asbestos is disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air where they are easily inhaled. Fibers can then become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs where they can cause scarring, which can lead to serious health problems such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
Introduced in 1970, the Clean Air Act contains stringent guidelines to reduce the health risks of asbestos exposure. Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (NESHAP) governs the safe handling of asbestos-containing materials when a building is being demolished or renovated.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to learn if an asbestos attorney can help you.