Eagle Environmental

NEW YORK MAN SENTENCED FOR EXPOSING PEOPLE TO ASBESTOS

20 years ago

Isaac Itzkowitz of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn on May 13, for violating the Clean Air Act. Itzkowitz was previously convicted of the illegal removal of asbestos insulation from pipes in a Brooklyn apartment building in February 1994. The defendant hired untrained workers to remove asbestos without providing them protective equipment. When the asbestos was removed, visible clouds of asbestos fibers were released, which created a direct health hazard to the workers, the building’s tenants and their children. An alert tenant videotaped the asbestos removal job, and notified the New York City Department of Sanitation Environmental Police (NYCDSEP). Repeated inhalation of asbestos particles is a known cause of lung cancer, a respiratory disease known as “asbestosis”, and a rare cancer of the chest known as “mesothelioma.” The corporation that owns the building, Landau and Eckstein, previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act in connection with this removal and agreed to pay a $75,000 fine, hire an asbestos expert to inspect all of its buildings and conduct any necessary asbestos removals in a lawful manner. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and NYCDSEP.

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