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$1.47 Million Fine Stands After Asbestos Violations Raise Mesothelioma Risk

It is a well known and proven fact that exposure to asbestos can lead to significant health problems, including malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer, and more. But this knowledge did not stand in the way of two developers real estate developers. In their quest to squeeze the most profit possible out of their multi-million-dollar redevelopment project in Pittsburgh, they chose to ignore Pennsylvania state and federal requirements on the handling of the deadly carcinogen, releasing hazardous dust into the environment, exposing workers without benefit of protective clothing and respirators, and disposing of the material in inappropriate ways. The pair has been told they must pay a $1.47 million fine by the Allegheny County Health Department.

The hefty fine is the largest asbestos-related fine that the health department has ever assessed, and it is a reflection of the seriousness of the violation that took place and the seriousness of the risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. According to an emergency order issued on June 2, Ramesh and Vikas Jain – a father and son development team – illegally removed more than 130,000 square feet of asbestos floor tile and pipe insulation from several buildings on the expansive site. In addition to the violations regarding their handling and disposal of the hazardous materials, they notably misrepresented that the material to be removed was safe to one of their employees, then tried to blame him for the illegal mishandling of the material. Charges that were initially filed against Raymond Side were dismissed after he testified that he had been set up to be the “fall guy.”

After the ruling was handed down in June, the Jains argued that they were unable to pay the fine and filed a penalty-reduction appeal, which has been denied. The department hearing officer noted that, based on personal tax returns and the returns on nine companies that they own, the pair have assets of between $13 million and $14 million. A conservative estimate determined that they would be able to pay a minimum of $1.25 million in fines.

The community in the area around the redevelopment project now must live in fear of mesothelioma, and so must a crew of Guatemalan nations who worked at the site. If you have been exposed to asbestos and face an uncertain future, we can help. Call the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net to get the answers and assistance that you need. We can be reached at  1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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