A Brockton asbestos consulting company will pay $52,000 in penalties and cease all operations to settle claims of illegal asbestos work during the 2020 redevelopment of a multi-building site that included multiple homes and an apartment building in a densely populated environmental justice neighborhood in Everett, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. This is the third case the AG’s Office has brought against the same company in two years for illegal asbestos work at projects in Rockland, Arlington, Malden, Waltham, Boston, and Everett. For the full text, click here.
Kansas Developer Improperly Removes Asbestos, Now Faces Jail Time
JD Supra Lawrence, KS
A failed attempt for an acquittal, coupled with a separate indictment of federal charges of collecting $400,000 in fraudulent tax refunds from the City of Lawrence, made 2018 a very stressful year for Thomas Fritzel. Fritzel, a developer in Lawrence, Kansas was found guilty of three Clean Air Act violations for “failure to notify of intent to demolish or renovate prior to removing regulated asbestos-containing material, failure to adequately wet regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM), and failure to contain RACM in a leak tight wrapping or container.” For the full text, click here.
The US Never Banned Asbestos. These Workers Are Paying the Price.
by Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi
To this day, the U.S. allows hundreds of tons of asbestos to flow in each year from Brazil, primarily for the benefit of two major chemical companies, OxyChem and Olin Corp. The companies say asbestos is integral to chlorine production at several aging plants and have made a compelling argument to keep it legal: Unlike in the horrific tales of the past, their current protocols for handling asbestos are so stringent that workers face little threat of exposure.
But at OxyChem’s plant in Niagara Falls, New York, the reality was far different, more than a dozen former workers told ProPublica. There, they said, asbestos dust hung in the air, collected on the beams and light fixtures and built up until it was inches thick. Workers tramped in and out of it all day, often without protective suits or masks, and carried it around on their coveralls and boots.
They implored the plant’s managers to address the conditions, they said, but the dangers remained until the plant closed in late 2021 for unrelated reasons. For the full text, click here.
EPA Deletes Asbestos-Contaminated Libby Railyards from Superfund List
Flathead Beacon by Tristan Scott
Libby, MT – Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the federal agency is deleting another segment of the asbestos-contaminated Superfund site in Libby from the federal National Priorities List (NPL), determining that all required cleanup activities along BNSF-owned railyards the towns of Libby and Troy, as well as 41 miles of railroad right-of-way, are complete. For the full text, click here.
A Brief History of the Belvidere Asbestos Mine
WCAX by Rachel Mann
Eden, VT – It looks like a pile of rocks from afar, but the Belvidere Asbestos Mine was once a community staple in the Northeast Kingdom. The Belvidere Asbestos Mine has operated under many different names and owners since mining attempts started in 1902. It finally got off the ground in the 1930’s and continued operating until 1993. It closed once people found out about the health risks associated with asbestos, and there was no longer demand for the product. Although the Department of Health did studies in 2008 and 2009 stating there were no asbestos-related deaths connected to the mine. For the full text, click here.
EIA Managing Director Brent Kynoch Participates in Congressional Briefing to Urge Congress to Ban Asbestos
ADAO Washington, DC
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, an independent nonprofit dedicated to preventing asbestos exposure through education, advocacy, and community initiatives, today held its 17th Congressional Staff Briefing, “Impact of Asbestos on Public Health, Environment, and Economy.” Experts in medicine, science, and public health shared the latest updates with Congressional staffers and members about the need to ban asbestos imports and use in the United States. Click here to access the briefing video. For the full text of the press release, email email@example.com.
Johnson and Johnson to Stop Selling Talc Based Baby Powder Globally
Washington Post by Andrew Jeong
International – Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its talc-based baby powder worldwide starting next year, in what it called a “commercial decision” aimed at ensuring long-term growth. The company discontinued sales of such products in the United States and Canada just over two years ago, citing declining demand for the baby powder after thousands of consumer lawsuits were filed against the firm alleging that the powder contained carcinogens. Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that it remains “firmly behind” the view that its talc-based goods are safe, do not cause cancer and do not contain asbestos. For the full text, click here.
Olympia Asbestos Contractor Sentenced to Jail Time for Environmental Crimes
Washington State Attorney General Olympia, WA
Derrick Boss, the owner of Above and Beyond Asbestos Removal in Bothell, was sentenced to 105 days in jail and ordered to pay full restitution to his victims for environmental crimes he committed in his asbestos abatement business. Boss duped his clients by posing as a properly licensed and trained asbestos removal expert. In fact, he was unlicensed and unqualified — and repeatedly exposed his customers and workers to asbestos. Boss must pay full restitution to four people who paid him for his services, a total of $13,350. For the full text, click here.
Las Vegas Apartment Complex Manager Sentenced for Violating Clean Air Act Asbestos Regulations at Two Facilities
Department of Justice Las Vegas, NV
A CA man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and 36 months of supervised release for renovating two apartment complexes in violation of federal Clean Air Act regulations intended to prevent human exposure to toxic airborne asbestos fibers. Bobby Khalili was indicted by a grand jury sitting in the District of Nevada in September 2019, in connection with asbestos-related Clean Air Act violations at a Las Vegas apartment complex. The grand jury later returned a superseding indictment against Khalili in July 2021, in connection with new Clean Air Act asbestos violations at a second apartment complex, which Khalili committed while on pretrial release for the first set of charges. Khalili pled guilty on March 11, to failing to safely remove asbestos prior to renovation at each complex. For the full text, click here.
EPA Improves Legacy Asbestos Scope of Risk Review
ADAO Washington, DC
ADAO announces the organization is pleased with EPA’s Asbestos Part 2 Supplemental Evaluation Including Legacy Uses and Associated Disposals of Asbestos; Final Scope of the Risk Evaluation To Be Conducted Under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Unlike EPA’s disappointing Part 1 Chrysotile Asbestos rule which only proposed banning six conditions of use, EPA’s Part 2 evaluation includes all six asbestos fibers and the Libby Amphibole (winchite and richterite); however, the evaluation will not lead to banning these additional fibers. Under a consent decree negotiated by EPA and ADAO, the Part 2 risk evaluation must be completed by December 1, 2024. For the full text, email firstname.lastname@example.org.