Construction foreman diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer discloses on-site health dangers created by asbestos sprayers
Sowing the seeds of cancer
Before 1980, asbestos was generously used in the building construction trade because it was prized for its strength and fire-retardant properties. Asbestos is recognized today as a carcinogen and is only now being phased out. But its deadly legacy lingers in the rafters of many skyscrapers erected during the 20thcentury.
It is no surprise, for example, that the Twin Towers of the former World TradeCenter (built before 1980) was lavishly constructed with asbestos materials. What is surprising is how tradesmen from different unions and with different responsibilities unknowingly contaminated fellow workers during building construction.
The asbestos sprayer
According to a deposition from a mesothelioma-afflicted construction industry foreman (and Weitz & Luxenberg client) who helped build the Twin Towers some 40 years ago, the exposure that led to his mesothelioma did not occur in the course of his own duties.
Rather, it occurred while standing by during the preliminary chores of other tradesmen, specifically the “asbestos sprayers” who blew asbestos insulation onto metal beams before office walls could go up.
“It was 1970,” the carpenter’s foreman testified in his deposition. “It was the south tower and we only did, I think, 28 floors there . . . We had to wait for the fellows to finish blowing fireproof insulation on the beams.”
Can you describe the spraying process?
It came out of the spray gun and the guy would just spray. He had a long handle on it and just kept spraying up and down and it would stick to the beam. He would go around it and then he would go to the next one, wherever the next one was. And then another guy would come around there and sweep the stuff up.
Did the sprayers put up any kind of barriers to separate their work area from the other workers?
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