Alaskan company Copper River Campus has been fined $70,000 and placed on three years of probation for releasing asbestos into the air in downtown Anchorage.
The firm manages property and buildings used by Copper River Seafoods Inc., a provider and distributor of wild-caught seafood. In 2009, Copper River Campus bought two Anchorage buildings, knowing they contained asbestos. Nevertheless, the company still had them demolished or renovated in March 2010, without proper asbestos precautions.
Company employees performing the demolition didn’t know about the asbestos presence. Additionally, the workers lacked the training to handle asbestos, nor did they have any special personal gear. Inspectors from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) learned of the renovations and sent an inspector to the site.
The EPA shut the project down, according to an Associated Press story. Prosecutors claimed that the work had released friable chrysotile asbestos fibers into the air. Chrysotile, or white asbestos, is the most common form of the mineral. While no injuries were reported from the release, there is a latency period of up to 40 years between exposure and the onset of symptoms of asbestos disease.
Subsequently, Copper River Campus was found guilty of violating the federal Clean Air Act. In addition to the fine and probation already noted, the company was also ordered to hire an environmental consultant to prevent any future violations.
Because of its high tensile strength, durability, low cost, and fire-resistant qualities, asbestos was heavily used in building materials in the United States until the late 1970s. When inhaled, microscopic asbestos fibers can cause serious diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer.
Have you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in the workplace? Why wait? Call Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation about a mesothelioma lawsuit.