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Property owners sentenced for asbestos exposure

Removing asbestos can be a dangerous undertaking and may put workers and nearby people at risk for exposure. In order to minimize asbestos exposure and the related health risks, removal of the toxic substance is heavily regulated. Some people in South Carolina and elsewhere view this regulation as more of an annoying roadblock than an important safety measure, and end up making decisions that land them in trouble with the law.

In 2015, a pair of brothers purchased a property that they knew contained asbestos. Reportedly 35 and 39 years of age, they were told by their realtor that it would be costly to have the asbestos properly removed. Another potential buyer had apparently backed out of the purchase when he received a $117,000 bid to safely remove the asbestos in the right manner. The brothers moved ahead with the purchase.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the brothers hired a crew to demolish areas of their building that were contaminated with significant levels of asbestos. Not only did workers not use proper methods for safe removal such as negative air pressure and protective sheeting, but they were also not equipped with the right safety gear. The workers were given masks and suits to wear, but neither were approved for asbestos protection, which left them vulnerable to exposure.

The property owners were recently sentenced for the illegal removal of asbestos. Both will serve a year for probation, perform 50 hours for community service and pay a $9,500 fine. However, no amount of criminal consequences can undo the asbestos exposure that workers and other people likely suffered. This is why it can be so important for victims of exposure in South Carolina to hold negligent individuals responsible for their actions. Not only can successful claims achieve compensation for things like mesothelioma and lung cancer, but they can also force companies to be more responsible when dealing with toxic substances like asbestos.

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