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Three South Lake Tahoe businesses charged with improper handling of asbestos

Release Date: 10/1/2003
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, Press Office, 415/947-4227

     SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking a $71,300 penalty against three businesses in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. for improper handling of asbestos, in violation of the Clean Air Act.

      The EPA charged the owners of the South Lake Tahoe Super Eight Motel, Mulligan's Irish Pub, and a contractor, Maintenance Plus with allegedly failing to properly remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials from the ceiling of Mulligan's restaurant.    

     "Asbestos is a hazard if not handled properly," said Jack Broadbent, director of EPA's Air Division.  "Employers have a responsibility to ensure regulations are followed to protect the health of their workers and the public."

     The business owners allegedly failed to properly remove asbestos-containing materials from the ceiling of Mulligan's restaurant, which is located within the motel.  Some of the materials were allegedly dumped in a parking lot adjacent to a boys and girls club.

     Asbestos, made up of microscopic bundles of fibers, is commonly used in thermal insulation, fireproofing and other building materials.  When asbestos-containing materials become damaged or disturbed, the fibers separate and may then become airborne and inhaled into the lungs.  Asbestos has been linked to significant health problems, including lung cancer.

     The EPA and the California Air Resources Board discovered the alleged violations during inspections conducted in July 2001, in response to a citizen complaint.  The business owners are required to respond to the charges in the complaint by the end of October.