Five members of a metal salvaging firm face prison terms and up to $10 million in restitution for knowingly endangering employees and improperly removing asbestos, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The company, A&E Salvage, bought an old plant in order to salvage metal, but improperly handled the asbestos contained in the plant.
The five employees, who were either managers or owners, plead guilty to conspiring to violate federal laws regarding asbestos materials. The owners and managers failed to provide any safety materials to employees who were handling the asbestos and violated safety terms set forth by the government prior to working on the old plant.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic building material that has since been banned in many developed countries, including the United States. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer, a deadly form of cancer that affects the lungs and abdominal cavity, and can take decades to develop after exposure.