Asbestos Removal Contractor Fails to Follow Federal Rules
A New Jersey asbestos abatement contractor, Vele Bozinoski, was recently sentenced for conspiring to violate U.S. environmental regulations when he improperly and unsafely removed asbestos from a paper mill building five years ago. The sentence carries six months of house arrest and three years of probation for the 61-year-old Bozinoski. Bozinoski initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in federal court. The charges consisted of conspiracy and six counts of violating the Clean Air Act’s asbestos work practice standards. Bozinoski allegedly committed such crimes when he removed asbestos-containing insulation from piping at the building that once housed the Garden State Paper Mill in Garfield, N.J. Before the trial began, however, Bozinoski changed his plea to guilty as reported by the U.S. Attorney’s office. The asbestos abatement project led by Bozinoski took place in 2007 when he hired workers to remove the asbestos-containing material. Before beginning the project, Bozinoski failed to notify the Environmental Protection Agency and to follow federal regulations for safe asbestos abatement. Furthermore, Bozinoski did not wet the asbestos-containing material before removing it, allowing dust with asbestos particles to go airborne and endangering everyone in the vicinity. He also admitted to failing to seal the asbestos debris in airtight containers for proper and safe disposal. Asbestos was once lauded as a miracle mineral because it's naturally heatproof and fireproof. The word asbestos comes from an ancient Greek term that means "inextinguishable." It was used liberally in many applications until it began to gain a reputation as a harmful substance. Not until the 1970s was asbestos federally regulated in light of its harmful properties. Many manufacturers and companies that profited from the use of asbestos deliberately hid its risks. As a result, thousands of people were exposed to the carcinogen throughout the 20th century. Although heavily regulated now, asbestos remains a threat, as it exists in many old buildings and vessels still in use or operation. As asbestos ages, it becomes even more of a threat because when it becomes brittle and fragmented, the dust escapes into the air where asbestos particles can be inhaled.
- O’Brien, Rebecca D. (Jan. 11, 2013). “Elmwood Park contractor is sentenced to probation for improperly removing asbestos from Garfield paper mill.” Retrieved on Jan. 12, 2013, from NorthJersey.com.