DETROIT: Dearborn resident sentenced for demolishing warehouse without removing asbestos
DETROIT — A man who authorities said took a shortcut while demolishing a warehouse in Dearborn last year has landed in federal prison.
Khalil Mahmoud Saad, 40, of Dearborn was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman for violating the Clean Air Act.
Saad was hired in November 2011 to demolish a vacant commercial warehouse at 10401 Ford Road, just west of Wyoming, and dispose of the debris. He hired an asbestos consultant who identified more than 1,000 linear feet of pipe insulation that contained asbestos and more of the same on a large boiler.
Federal law says that all asbestos must be properly removed before any activity that would break up, dislodge or otherwise disturb it.
Authorities said Saad hired workers in April 2012 to tear down the building and didn’t wet the asbestos so it wouldn’t go into the air.
“Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious, even fatal, diseases, and unsafe asbestos removal and demolition practices put the health of both the workers and the public at risk,” said Randall Ashe, special agent in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal investigation division in Chicago. “For that reason, it is critical that those in charge of demolition operations strictly comply with the federal asbestos laws. The defendant chose to ignore those legal requirements, potentially putting others at risk.”
According to the EPA, asbestos had been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are lung cancer; mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest, abdomen and heart; and asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term, noncancerous disease of the lungs.