We’ve recently written on construction companies failing to follow regulations regarding the proper disposal of asbestos. Instead, in an effort to save time and money, a few companies are simply dumping the toxic material unmarked into landfills.
A new report out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, indicates city residents are among those being put at risk of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos dumped in unmarked plastic garbage bags
According to a local newspaper, the Argus Leader, a construction company based in South Dakota was illegally dumping asbestos in a city landfill. According to documents obtained by the Argus Leader, Hultgren Construction failed to file the proper paperwork prior to beginning renovations on a downtown construction site. The asbestos, removed as part of the renovations, was not marked as hazardous waste. Instead, workers rolled up the toxic material into garbage bags and dumped them in the city landfill. The landfill accepted the bags without knowing they contained asbestos.
According to the investigative report, Hultgren Construction had emailed with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources regarding the need to properly remove asbestos from the construction site prior to beginning demolition.
Hultgren construction is already under a federal criminal investigation for an accident that occurred on the same construction site that killed a worker.
Deadly if inhaled
Asbestos fibers are small and easily cling to hair, clothes and shoes. Once inhaled, the fibers become lodged in the lungs, which cannot dispel them. Over years, these fibers cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer, among other serious illnesses.
Removing asbestos requires caution and expertise. Without proper protection, workers are at significant risk of developing cancer. In addition, when exposed to the air, nearby residents and passerby are also at risk of inhaling asbestos dust.