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Contractor exposes workers and illegally disposes of asbestos

Asbestos-related disease is a problem seen in Rowan due to people being exposed to asbestos through the ignorance or apathy of others. Asbestos exposure can lead to a series of diseases that are generally viewed as fatal. Asbestos litigation is becoming a more frequent occurrence for the victim or the families of a victim of asbestosis, mesothelioma and other diseases.

A man who had been on trial for illegally removing asbestos from a hospital his company had contracted to work on has pleaded guilty to the crime. He did not have a license to remove the asbestos, failed to provide adequate protections to the day workers he hired and disposed of the substance in an illegal way by burying it or leaving it in the boiler room of the hospital. Workers were given little more than a paper mask to shield them from the asbestos. People living in the area and the workers are at risk for asbestos-related disease due to their exposure.

Asbestos was once a commonly used substance for everything from insulation to building cars to military equipment and industrial plants. Once it was discovered to be dangerous, it became a costly endeavor to remove it and many companies either hid the fact that asbestos had been used or disposed of it illegally. People who have been exposed to asbestos sometimes take as long as 50 years to begin showing symptoms of its affects. These can include lung problems and mesothelioma. Victims and their families are using asbestos litigation to gain workers' compensation and payment for their exposure to asbestos.

In this case, the workers were hired by the day. Some were on work-release from a halfway house. The contractor was using illegal practices to dispose of the asbestos and did not take proper safety precautions to protect those working for him, as well as residents of the area.

Source: MyCentralJersey.com, "Sayreville businessman faces prison over illegal asbestos removal operation," Sergio Bichao, Jan. 30, 2014

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