The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has found a third site in Toledo where someone illegally dumped asbestos.
On December 14, the OEPA announced it was seeking information to help nab those responsible for dumping 60 bags of regulated asbestos waste in two Toledo neighborhoods. Thirty-seven bags were dumped at a vacant house in LaGrange Street in North Toledo, and 23 bags were left in an alley near a garage on St. Louis Street in East Toledo. Combined, there was approximately 100 cubic feet of asbestos.
Last week, Dina Pierce, northwest district media coordinator for the Ohio EPA, said a third site was recently discovered on Champlain Street in Toledo.
“This case now involves an additional dump site which was called in from an anonymous tip,” said Pierce. “Another 28 or 29 bags of asbestos and related material were found at a location on Champlain Street. This evidence is still being processed, but appears to be from the same source.”
The Ohio EPA believes the asbestos was dumped between October 30 and November 5. The agency is seeking information from someone who may have seen workers renovating a building in the area. Anyone who worked on a project that generated bags of asbestos waste in this time period is encouraged to contact the Ohio EPA.
Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber that has been used in a variety of building construction materials such as roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles and for insulation and fire retardant, in addition to numerous other uses, according to Pierce.
When asbestos containing materials are disturbed during demolition or renovations, the microscopic fibers can become airborne and can be breathed into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems. Health effects can include lung cancer, mesothelioma and a scarring of the lungs called asbestosis, according to Pierce. Because of the significant health risks, asbestos is a highly regulated material with special handling and disposal requirements.
“Regulated asbestos must be removed from a job site by a certified contractor and disposed of at a landfill licensed to accept asbestos through an Ohio EPA air pollution control permit,” said Pierce. “Regulated asbestos is asbestos that can become airborne and meets specific volume requirements.”
Pierce said the Ohio EPA gets few reports of illegal dumping of asbestos.
“It’s rare. Asbestos is so highly regulated that people who handle it are well aware of the health risks to themselves and others. So they handle and dispose of it properly,” she said.
If caught, depending on the circumstances, the cases could be handled as a civil or criminal violation, resulting in fines and/or jail, she said.
The Ohio EPA is seeking assistance from anyone who saw a work crew, possibly dressed in white protective suits, cleaning out a large building, someone dumping the bags, or with related information. To report information, contact Rick Hassinger at Ohio EPA’s northwest district office in Bowling Green at 1-800-686-6930 or 419-352-8461.