Felony child endangerment charges are now pending against three officers of a Turlock, California non-profit construction training company, Firm Build. The charges stem from an allegation that they used teenage student workers to remove asbestos containing material on a building project at the former Castle Air Force Base. Allegedly, the students were not advised of the presence of asbestos or provided appropriate safety equipment training.
Asbestos fibers, when in inhaled, can lead to the development of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer which most often forms in the lining of the lung.
The Merced District Attorney’s Office reports that as many as 80 teenagers may have been exposed to asbestos containing materials while working at the Automobile Training Center project at the former Air Force base during a seven month training program in 2005 and 2006. All of the students were participating in a vocational training program for at-risk high school students.
Some studies show that children are more susceptible to asbestos disease than adults for a variety of factors. Additionally, asbestos, once inhaled by children, has many more years to reside in the body and thus increase the chance that an asbestos-related malignancy will develop. Asbestos diseases take 30 to 50 years to develop from the time of exposure.