06/30/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Chicago Mesothelioma attorneys: Cooney & Conway
(Mesothelioma News) – Prosecutors in Illinois have charged a real estate developer with dumping 127 plastic bags of asbestos in a small, poverty-stricken town. Asbestos has long been linked to deadly diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s organs.
Details in the indictment of Michael J. Pinski, a Kankakee County businessman, reveal violations that, if proven, would be egregious and dangerous: unlabeled bags discarded so carelessly that the asbestos has already filtered into the field’s soil, no warning signs anywhere on or near the site in Hopkins Park, Ill.
For the local residents, the allegations are particularly troubling, because asbestos is most hazardous airborne, when asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled and lodge in the lungs. While mesothelioma lawyers have had great success obtaining large verdicts and settlements in asbestos lawsuits, medical science has fared less well—the prognosis for victims is usually grim.
Asbestos regulations, including those in Illinois, are intended to strictly regulate the disposal of asbestos, a material that was heavily used in past decades because of its heat- and fire-resistant properties. But it can still be found in countless structures across the country, including homes, office buildings, and even schools.
As a result of the dire consequences of asbestos exposure, such as deadly diseases like mesothelioma that can develop decades later, anyone who removes asbestos must do so by following strict guidelines. Those include the use of proper safety garments and gear, proper warnings, and disposal methods that eliminate the risk of airborne asbestos fibers.
When these regulations have not been followed—and residents and workers have been exposed to potentially grave health risks—violators have been fined, and in some cases, sentenced to jail time. They have also been taken to court by mesothelioma lawyers working to obtain compensation for victims of asbestos exposure, whose lives—and families—are often tragically and needlessly affected.
As many asbestos lawsuits have shown, regulations are often not followed—and appropriate precautions not taken—simply to save costs. The proper inspection and disposal of asbestos can be expensive, and over the years, all too many developers and landlords have shaved costs at the expense of lives.
The indictment of Pinski and two other men notes that the developer hired a fire protection company—inexperienced in asbestos removal—to eradicate the toxic material from a building he owns. That company, the indictment contends, would have cost “substantially less than a trained asbestos abatement contractor.”
Among the violations listed are: “failure to notify the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) prior to the removal; failure to have present during the removal any on-site representatives who were trained to comply with the EPA’s regulations for asbestos removal; failure to ensure the asbestos insulation was adequately wetted while it was being stripped and removed; failure to mark vehicles used to transport the asbestos-containing waste material during the loading and unloading of the waste with signs that included the words “DANGER,” “ASBESTOS DUST HAZARD,” “CANCER AND LUNG DISEASE HAZARD,” and “Authorized Personnel Only”; and failure to deposit the asbestos in a waste-disposal site for asbestos.”
The three men were charged with five violations of the Clean Air Act. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
This news story was brought to you by the Chicago mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we’ve brought relief—and recovery—to those injured by the negligence or harmful actions of others. In the process, we’ve litigated some of the country’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, helping victims of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases get answers—and justice.
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