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PA NEW YORK MAN CONVICTED OF ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL
Release Date: 10/03/97
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1997
NEW YORK MAN CONVICTED OF ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL
On Sept. 25, a jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn found Isaac Itzkowitz of Brooklyn, N.Y., guilty of three counts of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA). The conviction is in connection with the illegal removal of asbestos from a Brooklyn apartment building in February 1994. Hundreds of feet of asbestos insulation were removed from pipes in the building’s basement. No protective equipment was provided to the workers, nor were the workers trained in the proper techniques of safe asbestos removal. When the asbestos was removed, visible clouds of asbestos fibers were released, which created a direct health hazard to the workers and the tenants. An alert tenant in the building videotaped the asbestos removal job, and the New York City Department of Sanitation Environmental Police responded to the scene immediately, preserving crucial asbestos samples and photographic evidence. Prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos have been linked to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. When sentenced, Itzkowitz could receive a maximum of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000. On July 15, the corporation that owns the building, Landau and Eckstein, pleaded guilty to violating the CAA in connection with this removal and agreed to pay a $75,000 fine and hire an asbestos expert to inspect all of its buildings and remove the asbestos lawfully, if necessary. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in close cooperation with New York City authorities.
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