It’s been common knowledge for decades that asbestos is dangerous. And although the federal government has strict regulations for its safe removal from buildings during demolition or construction, it seems like every week we hear a story of someone breaking the rules and putting workers and the public at risk of asbestos exposure.
This week it’s former state corrections officer Aaron Netto, 36, of Watertown, N.Y. According to Syracuse.com news, Netto was arrested recently for allegedly releasing more than 1,000 pounds of asbestos into the environment while working at 222 Academy Street in Watertown. The property is a vacant, multi-family house built in 1923.
Prosecutors also allege that Netto recruited a second man to assist with illegal asbestos removal at the site. The man had no safety equipment and was in danger of exposure to the toxic material.
Once a popular building material because of its durability and flame resistance, asbestos is still present in countless buildings throughout the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection agency states that asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk.
However, renovations or demolition can disturb materials containing asbestos, causing them to release tiny fibers of it into the air. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, a devastating cancer that attacks the linings of the heart, lungs, and other organs.
The state police and the New York State Bureau of Environmental Crime Investigations collaborated on Netto’s arrest. The charges include third-degree endangering public health, safety, or the environment, a felony, and second-degree reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.
If convicted, Netto could face criminal and civil penalties.
Were you or a loved one exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma? If so, you may be eligible for financial compensation to help with the costs of your illness. Contact Sokolove Law today for a free consultation and to learn more about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.