An Iowa man is facing steep fines and a permanent injunction from the state’s attorney general’s office for allegedly burning trailer homes on his property that contained cancer-causing asbestos and violating regulations on asbestos disposal, burning without a permit, and open dumping.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources against Joel G. Thys, of Belle Plaine, in the Iowa District Court in Benton County. Thys faces fines of up to $15,000 per day for allegedly creating a 20-foot burn pile consisting of trees and five trailer homes on his property, which was near a residential area.
Thys had requested a burn permit, but it was denied by the city. The local fire chief had also warned Thys not to burn the dangerous material. Instead, in the wee hours of Feb. 20, Thys lit the pile, which continued to smolder for more than a month, according to the Attorney General’s office. Samples taken from the pile tested positive for asbestos.
Asbestos is a mineral that was widely used in building materials until the 1980s, when its use was significantly restricted. It has been known for decades that asbestos exposure can lead to serious health consequences like lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or chest. It can take decades for asbestos cancer to present. Mesothelioma is especially deadly, killing its victims within 12 to 24 months of diagnosis.
This isn’t the first time Thys has been cited for burn violations, or for asbestos violations.
Source: The Gazette