Tenants of the Martin Luther King Jr. Towers in Harlem, New York are living in fear of asbestos exposure as they wait for a construction crew to finish work on the building’s roof. Last week, a city inspector found asbestos in the building, prompting the construction crew to stop work since they didn’t have their asbestos abatement permit to show.
The New York Daily News reports that after research, however, it was determined that construction did indeed an asbestos permit, but they’ve still left the housing project “as is,” with dirty water, possibly mixed with asbestos, coming into the homes from the ceilings. Residents are complaining about the hazardous issues, but are being directed to the New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
According to Christopher Gilbride of the DEP, the work order was halted in order for the paperwork for asbestos work to be filed. Yet, doing so has left residents at risk. Per 52-year-old resident, Sylvia Olivera, the amount of dirty water coming in from her ceiling is dangerous.
“It comes down brown, very dirty-ish water. I just can’t imagine that they would let this go on for so long.”
However, the DEP states that since the asbestos is not airborne, the residents are not as risk. In the meantime, residents are putting buckets under their leaking ceilings and using aluminum foil to try and stop their belongings from getting ruined. It took one resident over six hours to removed dirty water from her apartment while using a wet-vac vacuum cleaner.
Although, the DEP says that residents are not as risk, numerous studies have indicated that no amount of asbestos is safe. Since there is no guarantee that the asbestos will stay contained, there is always the risk that the residents will breathe in asbestos fibers, which has been linked with life-threatening diseases such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
Asbestos in New York is not only a problem in project housing, but in single family homes and other types of buildings as well. In fact, a recent survey done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that 87% of all of the buildings and structures included in the survey contained asbestos. This not only poses a problem to those who live in these homes, but also to those selling homes, as extensive work must be done before many of the homes can be occupied.
Older school buildings in New York also contain asbestos. Although there are strict regulations to ensure that the children and staff members are safe from exposure, even one outbreak that goes unnoticed can cause significant health damage to a myriad of students, teachers, and other school employees.
Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one suffer from an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and much more.. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. We invite you to use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma attorney in your area.