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Who can you hold accountable for your pain and suffering?

When you received your cancer diagnosis, you probably wondered about your prognosis. And once you tried to accept your oncologist's report, you may have questioned how you got sick.

Most people do not willingly put themselves in harm's way. Typically, those who make that choice do so because it seems like their only option for supporting their family. However, it is one thing for you to subject your body to known hazards. It is entirely different when someone else is negligent in protecting you.

Admittance of guilt in illegal asbestos dumping

You might agree there should be a legal limit to the amount of danger to which another person can expose you. And if someone knowingly acts in a way that could reduce your quality of life, you may want to hold them accountable.

Following recent investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), one real estate developer pleaded guilty to illegally dumping asbestos. As for where he disposed of the hazardous materials, reports suggest they ended up in a landfill lacking authorization to handle asbestos.   

The developer has appealed his $1.4 million county fine regarding allegations of dumping asbestos-contaminated materials without pulling an appropriate permit or providing employee protection. And since admitting to acting in opposition to the Clean Air Act, the Pennsylvania developer awaits sentencing.

EPA regulations are in question

Among other government regulations established to maintain Americans' health and safety, the Clean Air Act serves to control national air pollution.

The identified hazardous air pollutants include:

  • Chloroform - Potentially cancer-causing in humans, chloroform can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue with short-term use. Over time, chloroform can cause kidney and liver damage.
  • Phenol - When ingested, phenol can cause severe flesh burns, internal bleeding and shock. In some cases, phenol can induce a coma or produce fatal burns.
  • Hydrochloric acid - This potentially-fatal corrosive liquid can cause damage to the nose and eyes and build up excess fluid in the lungs.
  • Methanol - Both toxic and flammable methanol ingestion can poison the central nervous system, cause permanent blindness and lead to a coma or the loss of life.

Also on the list: Asbestos. A known carcinogen sourced from natural minerals, asbestos fibers cause long-term fatal health concerns when inhaled.

Multiple governmental agencies oversee the use of asbestos-containing products as well as the removal and handling of asbestos, otherwise known as asbestos abatement. Therefore, you might think a developer would be familiar with the importance of minimizing known risks when handling hazardous substances.

It is too soon to say how the legal system will rule in this case. However, if you determine your mesothelioma is the result of someone's negligent behavior, remember that you can seek to hold them accountable.

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