Attorneys representing Lycoming Construction Services, a Williamsport (PA)-based Limited Liability Co, has entered a guilty plea on Thursday before Hon. William Marion Skretny, the Chief United States District Judge for the Western District of New York in 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York, to a breach of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for improper removal of asbestos during the tearing down of Dahlstrom Industrial Complex on Buffalo St. in Jamestown.
United States Attorney William Hochul said the company is facing a maximum fine of $500000 when sentenced on 13th August. Otherwise a term could be given barring the company from federal works for 5 years.
Because of a probe conducted by special investigators with the criminal division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the firm admitted that its employees had removed regulated materials containing asbestos illegally during the demolition process from 2012 January until 2014 November. During this job, asbestos materials were removed from a condemned building in that complex without properly wetting them, which is a violation of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) work practices.
The demolition work involved a bunch of condemned structure on both sides of Chadakoin River, with illegal asbestos abatement work being carried out in one of those structures on Buffalo St.
Asbestos was so common in most of the industries and work places for many decades when it wasn’t considered a health risk. Many of its desirable properties (such as resistance against fire, heat, electricity and corrosion, strength, durability etc.), along with its low cost, made asbestos the most favorite among the industries. The dangerous features of asbestos became fully known in the 1980s and government agencies started regulating the material.
Working with asbestos and products containing the mineral is the foremost risk factor for malignant mesothelioma, a terminal form of lung cancer caused by the inhalation of minute asbestos fibres. Though the material is still used in certain products, its use has been restricted since the 1980s when the link between asbestos exposure and fatal conditions such as mesothelioma became apparent. The workers who deal with or work around asbestos-containing products such as floor tiles, insulation, soundproofing, door gaskets, roofing, fireproof gloves, patching compounds, brake pads, clutches, or ironing board covers, may show symptoms of malignant mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis and lung cancer years or decades after initial exposure.