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March 15,  2002



(SafetyAlerts) - Michael Wadjas and Craig Brinson of Albany, N.Y., were arrested on March 5 on charges that they illegally removed asbestos from the Hilton Industrial Park in Rensselaer, N.Y., and then dumped it at various locations near the New York-Massachusetts border in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The illegal removal of asbestos and the illegal disposal of asbestos by open dumping can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne, and the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as asbestosis and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. If convicted on all charges, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count of violating the CAA. Violations of CERCLA carry a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count for which a defendant is convicted. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with the assistance of the New York State Department of Labor. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Syracuse, N.Y.

Source: EPA

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