A Detroit area man will spend the next 365 days staring at the walls of a federal prison for his role in exposing workers and others to toxic asbestos fibers.
According to a story aired on CBS 62 – Detroit, Anthony M. David, age 34, of Canton, Michigan has been sentenced by a federal judge to the one-year sentence for his failure to properly remove asbestos from a former paper mill he owned in the town of Otsego. He has also been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $168,000 for his role in violating the federal Clean Air Act.
Davis purchased the former paper mill in order to salvage scrap material from the powerhouse building on the site. That particular building contained large boilers and turbines used to keep the mill running. The workers hired to do the salvage work were not trained or licensed to work with asbestos materials. Furthermore, Davis did not attempt to instruct them in proper removal of asbestos, which would have included wetting the material first. In addition, asbestos materials collected from the site were disposed of in an improper manner.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which sent inspectors to investigate the site, notes that a “significant” amount of asbestos dust was released from several floors of the building, potentially causing harm not only to workers but anyone else who was onsite at the time. Asbestos exposure can result in the development of a variety of diseases, most often those that attack the lung area, including pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, or even emphysema.
Paper mills and power plants of old were often filled with asbestos-containing materials. Employees who were not informed of the dangers of asbestos were constantly putting their health on the line by working in these locations without benefit of protective gear. Often, employers knew that asbestos was hazardous yet allowed workers to be exposed nonetheless. Today, many are ill and some have filed lawsuits against those responsible for this negligence.