Cleanup crews in hazmat suits are working to remove multiple bags filled with what appears to be debris containing asbestos from a Washington neighborhood after the bags were illegally dumped overnight. Much of the material is being removed without incident, though the public and wildlife could be at risk of suffering asbestos exposure if they were near the exposed bags.
It is illegal in the United States to improperly dispose of materials containing asbestos, which has been linked to a severe form of cancer called mesothelioma. Many buildings that were constructed between the 1940s and 1970s could have some form of asbestos insulation. Asbestos use has since been banned in the United States.
Many workers and former employees have filed asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits against former employers who knowingly exposed them to asbestos while on the job. The workers allege they developed mesothelioma and other severe asbestos related diseases when companies failed to provide them with adequate information and protection from asbestos.