A recent United States Department of Justice release revealed a federal court sentence of three men and one company for asbestos violations in Tennessee. The accused were sentenced for their part in a conspiracy to breach Clean Air Act workplace safety standards by tearing down a Chattanooga, Tennessee factory that contained enormous amounts of asbestos.
Our Chicago mesothelioma attorneys are concerned about the potential hazard to public health in the Chattanooga community as the result of this criminal action.
The federal court fined $30,000 to the responsible company, Watkins Street Project LLC. One of the accused men was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison along with a $20,000 fine.The other two were sentenced to 18 and 20 months of jail time, respectively. All men were additionally sentenced to three years of supervised release and $27,899 in restitution to the EPA and state governments for cleanup.
The jury found the defendants guilty of conspiracy against Clean Air Act and impeding justice in regard to demolition of the former Standard Coosa Thatcher Plant.
In addition to unsafely destroying the plant containing large amounts of asbestos, the accused illegally employed day laborers to dispose of asbestos-containing materials. The laborers were given poor wages to carry out the removal in a manner that violated federal regulations. These regulations prevent demolition activities that cause asbestos to become airborne. When the fibers are airborne they are easily inhaled by workers and the general public, which leads to development of diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
According to witness testimony, dust from the demolition and reclamation activities often passed onto neighboring properties. Evidence also indicated that the accused tried to conceal their criminal activities by faking documents. One of the accused even lied to federal authorities working on the case.
Standards of safe demolition and renovation are outlined by the EPA and each state’s Department of Public Health. All of these regulations are available online.
In related news, school districts throughout the country are struggling with the task of safely disposing hazardous asbestos from older buildings. Schools are frequently finding it difficult to handle the heavy expenses associated with removal. A school in Illinois, however, is considering investing a large amount of money to transfer an asbestos-containing item from their gymnasium lobby to a new facility.
The item in question is their mascot, a Native American statue made from asbestos tile which was implemented onto the lobby floor in1955. The mascot has been an integral component of this small town in Illinois for three generations, and residents are adamant on preserving the statue.
Many employed at the school believe that the mascot protects and keeps an eye on the entire student body. He appears on sports uniforms, the school handbook and the school’s yearbook cover. He is also a guardian of sportsmanship, and the desire to save him is widespread.
Officials at Du Quoin High School are struggling with finding a way to
move the mascot before demolition begins. The task would require skilled
workers, including a licensed asbestos abatement expert.
Though asbestos is not completely banned in the U.S, its use is greatly regulated. It is rarely used in construction of schools today.
If you, a member of your family or a friend developed mesothelioma or a related disease following asbestos exposure, get in touch with a lung cancer lawyer today for a free legal consultation.