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Release Date: 2/5/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie J. Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie J. Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Eagle Industrial Hygiene Association Inc. of Horsham, Pa. has agreed to pay a $9,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of federal asbestos regulations during a renovation at the G.C. Murphy Department Store in Manao, Pa.

The project involved the removal of approximately 1,800 linear feet of asbestos pipe insulation in the store’s basement and penthouse. According to EPA’s administrative complaint, an EPA inspector observed asbestos-containing material that was not adequately wetted before it was removed for disposal and that a supervisor trained in asbestos regulations was not on-site during the removal.

To reduce the risk of asbestos emissions, EPA’s regulations require adequate wetting and proper disposal in leak-tight containers of asbestos-containing material. EPA also requires that a trained supervisor oversee asbestos removal activities.

After the inspection, the company immediately corrected the cited violations, cooperated in EPA’s investigation and initiated settlement discussions before a formal complaint was issued.

Asbestos, which is regulated under the federal Clean Air Act and Superfund statue a hazardous air pollutant, was once heavily used in insulation and other building materials. Intact and undisturbed asbestos does not pose a health risk. Asbestos becomes a health hazard when it releases fibers into the air due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease.

As part of the settlement, the company neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations.