If your home was built before about 1996, it could very well have components that contain asbestos. Shocked? It’s true. The Environmental Protection Agency started a phased ban of asbestos-containing products used in residential construction in 1989, but the final phase wasn’t even intended to be completed until 1996.
When people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or another asbestos-related illness, it often comes as a surprise. Cancers caused by the deadly fiber seem like something that only happened in the past, before most asbestos products were banned in the U.S. Surely people aren’t still being diagnosed with these illnesses today.
A jury just awarded $5.95 million to a Louisiana man who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician at Dow Chemical’s Plaquemine plant, the largest chemical facility in the state. The Dow Chemical Company continues to use asbestos in all of its chemical manufacturing plants in the U.S. and worldwide, despite other companies having abandoned the dangerous practice decades ago.
According to a recent report, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has issued several violation notices to Demolition Excavating Group. In June 2012, the demolition company reportedly received a violation notice after illegally dumping debris from a demolition site near a creek.
New legislation called the Common Sense Waiver Act would help expedite the process of knocking down buildings that are contaminated by asbestos. The bill deals specifically with buildings that have been condemned and are deteriorating, but that haven't collapsed on their own and aren't cleared for demolition.
Reporters in a small town recently found evidence that students from a local school were put to work on a volunteer project that likely exposed them to asbestos. The situation came to light after a concerned community member saw the high school students working on a site near his home that he knew was contaminated with asbestos. He filmed a brief video which shows students working to remove debris from a former YMCA building. The video is blurry, so it is unclear if the children were wearing protective masks, but they are certainly not wearing the type of industrial protective gear typically used when professional workers remove contamination.
Last week, we began a discussion of the Environmental Protection Agency's recent proposal for the cleanup of asbestos in Libby, Montana, a former mining town in which at least half of the population - and most likely more - has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis and related diseases. The cause of those ailments is the town's proximity to the W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine, which spread asbestos throughout the town for many of the 30 years it was in operation.
In recent months, we have written multiple blog posts about the town of Libby, Montana, where 30 years of nearby vermiculite mining has caused the town to be coated with asbestos and hundreds of its residents to be diagnosed with and die of mesothelioma and related diseases.
A former professional football player and his business partner are facing multiple federal charges for improperly transporting and storing asbestos waste in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. If the men are convicted on all of the offenses with which they are charged, they could be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
Last week, we wrote about a man that had been charged with more than 30 violations of asbestos and environmental laws after allegedly failing to abide by state and federal regulations dictating how dangerous asbestos fibers must be removed. Now, we get a look at the other end of that criminal process with the news that an Illinois man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for failing to properly remove asbestos from a building.