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New York asbestos inspectors charged with fraud

According to the results of a joint investigation by the District Attorney's offices in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, 17 certified asbestos inspectors routinely lied about performing inspections, putting construction workers and nearby residents at risk of asbestos exposure.

In the indictment, officials said the inspectors lied about 40 city-owned sites located throughout Manhattan. In documents filed to the city, these inspectors certified no asbestos was present, even though some of them had never even visited the site. The city requires inspectors to prove there is no asbestos by collecting samples at the site, testing them for asbestos and reviewing the test results.

While workers and residents may have been exposed to asbestos at these sites, it is not clear how many people will eventually be impacted. Asbestos causes mesothelioma, the aggressive and incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma does not develop until 20 to 50 years after exposure.

Asbestos poses a real danger in demolition

The law requiring asbestos testing is there for a reason. Asbestos was used in constructing a number of buildings in New York City, including commercial, industrial and residential properties. Many building materials, including heating and cooling products, tile, roofing, and others, contained asbestos.

While asbestos has largely fallen out of the public spotlight, it remains a danger for many, particularly those in construction. Recently, there have been a number of instances in which building owners and inspectors have decided to put profits ahead of worker safety by ignoring regulations and proper asbestos abatement procedures. 

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