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PA FLORIDA MEN EXPOSE HOMELESS TO ASBESTOS

Release Date: 10/31/97
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1997

FLORIDA MEN EXPOSE HOMELESS TO ASBESTOS

On Oct. 21, Arthur Newman and Lawrence Rothman, both of Miami, Fla., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami to violating the Clean Air Act. The defendants renovated a warehouse in Miami without complying with federal procedures for the safe removal of asbestos. Despite specific warnings and the posting of signs at the job site by an inspector from the Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM), defendants preceded with the project in violation of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. The defendants failed to give advance notice of their project, ignored the DERM inspector’s warnings that laboratory tests confirmed the presence of asbestos, tore down warning signs he had posted, and hired homeless individuals to perform the removal of asbestos laden material without providing them proper protective gear. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis” in people. When sentenced, the defendants each faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and DERM.

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