New York Case Serves As Reminder of Hazard of Asbestos Demolition Debris
The owner of a New Jersey solid waste management company, a New York farm owner and two associates have been arrested on federal charges of conspiring to dump thousands of tons of asbestos-contaminated demolition debris at an upstate New York farm, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Exposure to asbestos can cause serious respiratory disease including mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen.
According to the June 3 press release, Dominick Mazza, of Tinton Falls, N.J., owner of the solid waste company Mazza & Sons Inc., Cross Nicastro II, owner of a farm in Frankfort, N.Y., and two others were arrested for illegal dumping of 30,000 tons of asbestos debris in Frankfort in 2006.
Asbestos fibers are highly toxic if inhaled and can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. To prevent exposure, the New York Department of Labor and federal workplace safety regulations strictly prescribe how trained workers should handle asbestos materials during demolition of older buildings and disposal. Asbestos removal workers must be certified to handle asbestos safely to prevent public exposure.
The seven-count indictment details an alleged scheme to illegally dump thousands of tons of asbestos-contaminated pulverized construction and demolition debris that was processed at Eagle Recycling and Mazza & Sons Inc,’s solid waste management facilities in New Jersey. The asbestos contaminated debris was transported to Frankfort, N.Y., and dumped at Nicastro’s farm near the Mohawk River. Much of the farm’s lands are federally-designated wetlands.
According to court documents, Julius DeSimone, of Rome, N.Y., who was also indicted, oversaw the excavation and asbestos debris dumping on the farm. Another defendant, Donald Torriero, of Wellington, Fla., concealed the illegal dumping by fabricating a New York Department of Environment Conservation permit and forging an official’s signature on the fraudulent permit.
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, violate the Clean Water Act and environmental laws and commit wire fraud.
The defendants have entered pleas of not guilty, according to The Wall Street Journal. Earlier this year, Eagle Recycling of North Bergen, N.J., which produced most of the truckloads of asbestos-containing debris, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to pay $500,000 and comply with environmental laws. A waste trucking broker Jonathan Deck also pleaded guilty in 2009.
The use of asbestos is now strictly regulated in the U.S. But until the late 1970s, asbestos was widely used in many types of building materials. Many older buildings and factories still contain asbestos materials. Asbestos exposure is an occupational hazard of remodeling and demolition workers and a primary way that workers may be exposed to asbestos today.