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OREGON MAN SENTENCED FOR EXPOSING HOMELESS TO ASBESTOS

Release Date: 12/18/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1998

OREGON MAN SENTENCED FOR EXPOSING HOMELESS TO ASBESTOS

Timothy Dean Tomlinson, co-owner of WR Engineering & Environmental (WREE), was sentenced on Dec. 14, to 10 months confinement by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle for violating the Clean Air Act. Tomlinson was convicted of illegally employing homeless men who were not trained or certified in asbestos removal to remove over 14,000 square feet of asbestos from a building in Seattle in May 1997. The men also were not provided with proper safety equipment. As a result, the homeless laborers were exposed to high levels of airborne asbestos. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause a lung disease knows as "asbestosis," lung cancer, and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. WREE quoted a price of $31,000 for the asbestos removal work. However, the cleanup eventually cost property owners over $350,000 because the site was contaminated due to improper asbestos removal. The case was jointly investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA’s Region 10 Air Program, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

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