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Contractor Leaves Asbestos on South Carolina Beach

Nearly every contractor in the U.S. knows that asbestos was used for decades in thousands of building products. Those same contractors also understand that asbestos is a hazardous material that should be handled with care and that all exposure to asbestos could be dangerous. But that didn’t stop a South Carolina contractor from leaving the friable material on the beach in an area that is visited by thousands of tourists each year. Now, that individual is facing charges for his actions.

According to an article in the Sun News of Myrtle Beach, while renovating the oceanfront Regency Towers in 2009, David Braswell of Little River, SC allowed friable asbestos to blow onto the beach near the towers as well as out into the parking lot and the building’s landscaped areas. Braswell and his company, Cool Cote LLC, now face charges related to seven violations of the Federal Clean Air Act related to their work at the Regency.

An indictment filed in May notes that Braswell began his work at the condominium complex without first inspecting the buildings for asbestos or filing a written notice with the state. Company workers also pressure washed the exterior without first taking precautions to prevent friable asbestos from being released and permeating the air. Prosecutors claim there is proof that Braswell knew there was at least 35 cubic feet of asbestos-containing material in the building’s exterior coating.

Finally, Cool Cote workers were not given the respiratory protection they needed to prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which can cause mesothelioma cancer if they become imbedded in the lungs.

Braswell also faces two felony charges for making false statements to federal inspectors who were investigating the case. He could receive as much as 45 years in prison for all the charges combined.