BOISE, Idaho -

The Environmental Protection Agency says Idaho inmates were exposed to asbestos when they were sent to work at an Idaho Transportation Department maintenance shop without proper training or equipment.

The federal agency announced Tuesday that the Idaho Transportation Department has paid nearly $56,000 to settle the allegations. The state agency didn't admit or deny the allegations.

The EPA says the transportation department hired inmates from the St. Anthony Work Camp last year to remove old flooring from a building in Rigby. But the EPA says the department didn't test for asbestos first, and instead relied on a 25-year-old test of a single sample from the maintenance shop that showed no asbestos. Tests done after an inmate complained showed the flooring contained asbestos.

Asbestos can cause cancer and other health problems.