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Improper asbestos disposal carries both legal and safety risks

A man from West Virginia was recently convicted and sentenced for dumping asbestos-containing materials in a national forest. His penalties reportedly include over $14,000 restitution for cleanup costs, $100 fine and court costs. He also received a six-month jail sentence, which was suspended.

According to media reports, the West Virginia Natural Resources Police discovered a dumpsite in the Monongahela National Forest in early April. The items dumped at the site contained siding and shingles that were made with asbestos.

At the time, officers suspected that the waste came from a demolition or remodeling project in the area. Months later, Billy G. Leary Jr. pleaded guilty to one charge of creating an open dump.

Proper disposal of asbestos reduces health risks.

Asbestos is a hazardous mineral that can cause a variety of health conditions after being inhaled or ingested. Because of this, there are several regulations regarding any handling of asbestos-containing materials.

Generally, it is not safe for individuals to perform asbestos removal themselves. Homeowners are usually advised to hire a professional asbestos abatement team that has the appropriate training and licensing. However, even professionals must dispose of the asbestos materials somehow.

Asbestos-containing products should not be dumped just anywhere, should not be burned and should not get thrown away with the rest of someone’s trash. When not disposed of properly, asbestos fibers can contaminate the surrounding air, soil and water.

When disposing of asbestos, abatement teams must wet the material and seal it in containers that will not leak. These containers must be labeled appropriately and brought to an approved asbestos disposal site.

Asbestos-containing waste usually ends up in special landfills, but in some cases, it may be recycled into non-hazardous materials. In either instance, the organization accepting this waste must have the proper permit to do so.

Safely disposing of asbestos-containing materials can be a complicated process. However, improperly dumping these materials can have a high financial cost and significant health risks. Often, the best way to manage these risks is to leave the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials to the professionals.

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