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Products with asbestos mistakenly accepted at nonhazardous site

Handling materials that contain asbestos properly is very important. Many demolition or waste companies have procedures in place that ensure the materials are handled safely and properly. When these procedures do not exist, however, people may unknowingly mishandle dangerous products that contain asbestos.

A waste disposal company has recently come into the spotlight for allowing employees to accept materials containing asbestos. The company does not typically accept hazardous materials. Usually, citizens pay a small fee to throw away mattresses, boxes and other non-toxic items at the site. It is unclear if the people who dropped off the hazardous materials at the waste disposal center were aware of the asbestos or not.

Similarly, it is not known if the workers who accepted the items were aware of the asbestos. However, one sharp-eyed employee filed a complaint to management that there wasbestos in some of the products they were accepting. After management ignored his claims, however, he had to take his concerns to the Office of the Inspector General.

An investigation confirmed the employee's claims. The investigation also uncovered a complete lack of procedure in place for asbestos screening. Workers have since been trained to identify the toxic substance and how to follow up in the event that they do discover asbestos.

Whether or not the customers or workers were aware of the asbestos in their products, disposal of the substance is highly monitored and controlled so that innocent victims are not exposed to the cancer-causing fiber. Products that contain asbestos need to be reported and removed responsibly or a person could develop fatal diseases.

Source: KRQE, "Probe finds city site accepted asbestos," Amanda Goodman, Feb. 18, 2012

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