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Asbestos: Safe removal is as important as safe handling

People who are familiar with asbestos likely know that they should not handle it without proper protection, from adequate clothing to a strong understanding of asbestos handling laws and procedures. But protecting yourself from asbestos isn't just about how you should or should not handle it directly. You also need to know how to get rid of materials contaminated with asbestos.

Unfortunately, too many people stop worrying about asbestos once it's been removed from a home or building. But the fact is that asbestos can still cause damage and present a risk to people's health unless and until it is disposed of properly.

Recently, the owners of a former Pillsbury plant faced steep fines after it was discovered that they had not observed approved protocol when it came time to dispose of asbestos found in the plant.

According to reports, materials containing asbestos were found all over the plant and in plastic bags on site. It was also noted that there was insufficient signage warning others of the presences of asbestos. Courts determined that the company owners failed to secure proper removal resources.

What started as an apparent attempt to cut costs could end up costing the company as much as $500 day for violations that are not properly remedied.

It is not just large corporations and plants that need to be concerned about proper removal processes. Any homeowner or property owner in North Carolina is expected to comply with federal and state regulations that dictate how asbestos should be disposed of. This includes keeping it properly contained and away from soil and/or water as well as transporting it to a waste facility that permits the dumping of hazardous waste.

Failure to do these things won't just cost money; it could also cost the health and safety of anyone who was exposed to improperly removed asbestos.

Source: The State Journal-Register, "Pillsbury site owners cited for civil contempt over asbestos cleanup," Tim Landis, Nov. 5, 2015

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