Three Arrested for Deliberately Exposing Students to Asbestos

Yet again, we have another story of incredible negligence involving asbestos, again involving students. Although this was not about asbestos exposure at school, but during a program for students in Merced, Calif. to get some hands on experience learning about the construction industry.

The District Attorney announced a few weeks ago charges have been filed against three construction workers for deliberately exposing teens to asbestos at a local construction site five years ago.

Instead of the usual hammer-and-nail or measure-and-cut exercises, students were told to work on removing asbestos from a building being renovated on the site of the former Castle Air Force Base in Merced.

Supervisors neglected to give warn them of the dangers of what they were doing and failed to provide protective gear for the students.

A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said seven students have come forward, but more have been unknowingly exposed and need to be tracked down. Six more have called the office back since the story has gone public, yet more need to be found.

“It was a knowing and willing violation on all parts,” the spokesperson said.

She also acknowledged the motive of those responsible: to cut company costs, as proper asbestos removal can be costly and time consuming.

Unfortunately such cutting of corners is becoming all too common in a poor economy and a construction sector hurting even more. But what really is reprehensible is the knowing and willing exposure of innocents.

Three men have been found, taken into custody and charged in the matter. Bail has been set at $500,000.