3 Men Convicted of Exposing Students to Asbestos

In Fresno, California, three men have been convicted for enlisting the help of up to 80 high school students to remove asbestos from a building at the former Castle Air Force Base.

The men, Rudy Buendia, Patrick Bowman, and Joseph Cuellar, were all executives with “Firm Build”, a nonprofit agency that went bankrupt in 2007.

As a result of their violation of federal cleanup and asbestos laws, the men could spend up to 2 years in prison.

According to investigators, the former executives all knew that students working on an automotive training center were being exposed to asbestos but they failed to notify the students or their parents of this exposure. The students were only given goggles, hard hats, and cotton masks.

Asbestos is a mineral commonly used in building construction because it is very strong and resistant to heat. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of the deadly cancer mesothelioma.