Fines Issued for Illegal Asbestos Removal
The city of Winslow was recently fined $240,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency as a penalty for asbestos violations committed last year. The violations included illegal removal of asbestos, illegal disposal of asbestos, and failure to notify the proper authorities of the presence of asbestos.
The suit filed by the EPA named the city and John Roche, the former city manager, as well as the owner of the building where the violations were committed. They were accused of demolishing four apartment buildings without inspecting them for asbestos.
If asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed during demolition, toxic fibers will often be released into the air. These fibers, if inhaled or ingested, can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Malignant mesothelioma often takes several decades to develop, and when it is finally diagnosed, most mesothelioma treatments do not have a curative affect on the disease.
Tipsters originally notified state authorities that the buildings were in the process of being torn down, and the demolition was ordered to a halt. Tests were carried out and the presence of asbestos was confirmed.