The owners and executives of a New Jersey salvage company are facing heavy fines and potential jail time for their roles in a project involving asbestos. The salvage company agreed to purchase the Liberty Fibers plant. The facility contained salvageable metals, but it also contained asbestos. The site fell under the government’s Superfund program because it contained deadly materials. The salvage company improperly disposed of the asbestos on site and knowingly exposed workers to the deadly asbestos fibers.
In a case heard in U.S. District Court, five owners and managers of the A&E Salvage Company were sentenced to jail terms ranging from five years to six months. The company was also ordered to pay reimburse the Superfund program the funds it drew for properly disposing of the hazardous materials. In total, the company was ordered to pay $10.3 million in restitution.
Exposure to asbestos is a frightening thing to deal with. A person who is exposed may develop mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses at almost any time after exposure. Some people who are exposed never develop any illness. Typically, asbestos-related diseases appear between 10 years and 50 years after being exposed. There is nothing that a person exposed can do to eliminate the potential for harm after exposure has occurred.
The company in this case was heavily penalized for more than just improper handling of asbestos. After receiving warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that it was endangering workers. Instead, the EPA alleged that the plant operators sought to hide the evidence of improper disposal.
Source: WBIR.com, “Salvage principals face prison terms, $10.3 million restitution in asbestos case,” 22 January 2015