Eagle Environmental

OREGON MAN CONVICTED OF HIRING HOMELESS MEN TO REMOVE ASBESTOS

20 years ago

Timothy Dean Tomlinson, co-owner of WR Engineering & Environmental, was convicted on July 17, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle of violating the Clean Air Act. In May 1997, Tomlinson employed homeless men as day laborers to remove asbestos who were not certified to remove asbestos, nor were they provided with proper safety equipment. The removal operation involved the scraping and sandblasting of asbestos from surfaces inside the building in Seattle. This resulted in high levels of asbestos contamination inside and outside the building. Inhaling asbestos fibers is a cause of a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and lung cancer in humans. Tomlinson’s company quoted the property owners a $31,000 price to remove the asbestos; however, the resulting cleanup cost them over $350,000. This case was jointly investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA Region 10 Air Program, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

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