A Toledo, Ohio asbestos removal company has been fined more than $12,000 for the mishandling of hazardous asbestos and for failing to follow procedures for which they were trained and licensed to perform.
According to an article in The Plain Dealer, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that Total Environmental Services did not comply with Ohio’s asbestos emission control standards during a job for which they were contracted in 2006.
“The company failed to adequately wet asbestos-containing material that had been stripped from Gourley Hall at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. The company also neglected to wet the asbestos-containing waste while collecting and bagging it for disposal,” EPA said in a news release.
EPA inspectors discovered the violations when they visited the university during the renovations, which took place in February 2006. They immediately spied bags full of dried, crumbling asbestos, which should have been wetted down before removal. The EPA does acknowledge, however, that workers for Total Environmental Services did attempt to correct the problem immediately by wetting the bags.
Wet asbestos does not present a health hazard. However, dry, crumbling asbestos – known as “friable” asbestos – can break up into small fibers and can become airborne. At that point, the fibers can be inhaled by those in the vicinity. Exposure to the toxic fibers is known to cause various pulmonary diseases, including asbestos and mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer.