Environmental

Detroit contractor faces stiff consequences for ignoring asbestos removal laws

Asbestos hazard sign 280x210 Detroit contractor faces stiff consequences for ignoring asbestos removal lawsA Detroit, Michigan-based contractor was permanently banned from city contracts after knowingly demolishing a home that contained asbestos without properly removing it, posing a health risk to workers and those in close proximity, according to the Detroit Free Press

Den-Man Contractors had been the subject of a probe by Detroit’s Office of Inspector General, an independent agency that investigates claims of waste and fraud.

According to Detroit Building Authority documents, Dave MacDonald, a former employee with Den-Man, directed the demolition of a home in a blighted neighborhood in Detroit despite having received emails from an abatement contractor who urged him to delay the demolition. Contractors are required to remove asbestos-containing materials before tearing down structures. The only exception is in the event of an emergency.

But Den-Man went forward with the demolition, which led to an investigation by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Den-Man was found in violation of five different sections of federal hazardous and environmental regulations including failure to remove asbestos-containing materials and failure to properly dispose of those materials.

Asbestos is a mineral that was widely used in construction materials. In the 1980s, its use was restricted. It had been known for decades that asbestos exposure could lead to serious health issues including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. It can take up to 50 years for asbestos-related cancer to emerge. Once diagnosed, it often proves deadly in a year or two.

Asbestos can still be found in homes and buildings constructed prior to 1990. Regulations are in place for contractors to properly abate asbestos-containing material prior to renovation or construction to protect the health of workers and others who are in close proximity.

Companies that ignore laws regarding asbestos removal face stiff consequences. Den-Man, for example, “will most likely never work in the city’s demolition program again,” Detroit Building Authority Special Projects Manager Brian Farkas said.

Source: Detroit Free Press