Asbestos in Co-Op City
The biggest residential project in the US, Co-Op city is located in New York city, in the Bronx area. The site had been earlier occupied by an amusement park called Freedomland. Inaugurated in 1969, Co-op city is home to fifty thousand people who live in 15 thousand residential units, thirty five buildings, and seven house-clusters. The population is very diverse, with a lot of immigrants, creating a mixed cultural environment. The complex is currently in financial trouble and in need of extensive structural reparations. It is said that this repairs will end up costing five hundred million dollars.
The projects` energy needs are covered by their own power plant, which features massive boilers and piping systems to deliver power to all residential units.
Asbestos at Co-Op
Starting in the first decades of the XXth century and up until the 1970s, asbestos, a group of small-fiber minerals were the material of choice for insulation all over America. Construction was one of the industries that utilized asbestos more frequently. In the case of Co-op city, which was built right before the massive scandal about asbestos health problems, asbestos may have been used extensively, and it was surely used on tiles, in order to make them fire-proof.
One of the main dangers of asbestos contamination are maintenance and renovation work, because they involve processes which may liberate asbestos into the air, such as hammering, cutting, and transportation of ACM (asbestos containing materials). The proposed reconstructions at Co-op city present a great risk for both workers and residents.
Of course, the power plant is where the majority of asbestos can be found. Because there are pipes and boilers in power plants that need to resist high temperatures, these used to be made of ACM or lined with them. Asbestos paper and tiles were also used to insulate boiler rooms. All of these practices created extremely dangerous work environments, along the years.
Asbestos Risks for Co-op City employees
For three decades now, we have been aware that asbestos can be fatal to human health. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. In fact, even people related to workers exposed to asbestos could have been contaminated, as asbestos fibers can be carried home in clothes and hair. When the fibers, which are very volatile, are inhaled, they can cause the following conditions:
• Mesothelioma: also known as asbestos cancer, It is a very malignant form of cancer developing in the lungs, abdomen, or heart. • Lung Cancer: a tumor blocking the passage of air through the lungs. Risks for people exposed to asbestos can rise by 90% in smokers.
• Asbestosis: Scar tissue building in the lungs following asbestos inhalation causes respiratory and circulatory problems.
Symptoms of all of these diseases can take many years to manifest themselves, therefore making diagnosis more difficult. In fact, latency can take up to 50 years. Thus, it is essential for people who presume they have been exposed to asbestos to consult a physician, even BEFORE experiencing any symptoms.
Seeking legal counsel is also recommended, as exposure to asbestos may have been caused by negligence on the part of certain employers. At Weitz & Luxenberg, we have been winning asbestos cases and achieving substantial settlements for over 20 years. You can look at our firm´s track record here. Our Asbestos Lawyers are ready to give you a complimentary case assessment, to evaluate your chances of filing a legal claim. If you think you could have been affected, don´t hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to assisting you in clarifying any doubts or concerns you may have.