The act of illegally dumping asbestos has been taking place since the moment certain laws and regulations were enacted and implemented prohibiting the reckless endangerment of innocent bystanders to this potentially toxic and lethal substance.
The Ohio EPA continues to search for the individual or individuals who, in November of 2012, dumped a large amount of asbestos containing pipe insulation on a vacant residential property. The property sits just west of Nature Conservancy property. The piping was most likely part of an old heating system and the illegal dumpers were most likely ignorant thieves looking for scrap metal to sell.
In October of 2012, two New Jersey men dumped 60,000 pounds of asbestos containing debris on an upstate New York farm, a farm that also has wetlands and runs along a river. The owner of the unoccupied land ignored both state and federal laws when he dumped the rubbish that was put through an industrial shredding machine without the asbestos first being removed. When authorities arrived to inspect the site, the dump pile was topped by two children’s bicycles, evidence that the toxic waste was being used a playground. Moreover, it was the owner’s intentions to eventually develop this asbestos laden land into commercial riverfront property.
In mid-2012, an Illinois man was sentenced to ten years for the illegal removal, handling and disposal of asbestos from a Kankakee building. A jury determined that in order to put a few more dollars in his pocket, he completely disregarded the laws put in place to protect the general public from the hazards of asbestos. He stripped dry asbestos from pipes, shoved it in regular unlabeled garbage bags, then proceeded to hap-hazardly dump the over one hundred contaminated bags into an open field. Additionally, the man was also ordered to pay restitution of $47,086 to the EPA for the cleanup of the asbestos
On an international level, Sydney Australia can finally end its hunt for a truck driver that dumped nearly two tonnes of asbestos outside two children’s care centers (pre-schools). It required over $13,000 and three months of clean-up and investigation to locate Dib Hanna. Despite several years of illegal dumping including deadly asbestos, multiple fines and convictions, Hanna was only handed a three month suspended sentence. He was actually quoted as saying “You said last time, you send me to jail. I go home and I keep going my business,” This is hardly the deterrent to future Aussie asbestos dumpers one might have hoped for.
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. They have been used commercially in a multitude of products for their heat resistant quality and inexpensive price tag. However, when the fibers become airborne and then inhaled they can be toxic and potentially lethal. Asbestos exposure has been known to cause both malignant and non-malignant disease. The above examples of human stupidity are demonstrative of one of the reasons why regulations and legislation are not sufficient to protect the public from the dangers of asbestos.