Asbestos testing paid for by the Stamford police union indicates that one unit in the Stamford, Connecticut police headquarters is littered with asbestos. Consequently, the unit has been cleared and evacuated. The testing last month comes after asbestos was found in the police department last year, resulting in hundreds of workers filing claims against the city.
According to the Stamford Advocate, asbestos testing at the Stamford police headquarters confirmed that there was asbestos throughout most of the facility. However, the entire first-floor unit, where the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit is located, contained the highest numbers of asbestos, at 88,200 asbestos fibers located on a 5 by 5 inch area behind a shelf. According to the asbestos testing company, Big East Environmental of Norwalk, samples in other areas of the building were relatively small and not even close to the amount found in the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit.
Shortly after receiving the test results, the police department moved over a dozen workers from the first-floor. They were relocated to other parts of the building.
“Based on results, we are speaking to experts in the state to better understand what they mean and remedy the situation,” said Assistant Chief, Timothy Shaw.
No Abatement Required by OSHA
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), the last round of asbestos testing indicated that little if any asbestos fibers were found in 12 out of 15 of the building’s rooms. The areas that did contain asbestos were so low that OHSA stated that an abatement was unnecessary. However, OHSA ordered quarterly testing on the building, and should more units show asbestos fibers present, a future abatement may be required.
However, it’s important to note that although OHSA did not require abatement, this doesn’t mean that workers are completely safe. The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both suggest that there are no safe levels of asbestos, regardless of how small.
New Headquarters in the Works
For the past several months, the Stamford city officials have been looking for a new location for the police headquarters. So far, they’ve faced numerous obstacles due to lack of parking spaces, buildings that are too small, and locations that are too far away from the city. Since asbestos was found in the current building and the city has paid fines to federal regulators, Chief Jon Fontneau states that cleaning up and abating the building would be like “throwing good money after bad.” He also stated that the police and staff had outgrown the building anyway.
Concerns Over Asbestos Continue to Grow
Todd Lobraico, president of the Stamford police union, said that the concern of the workers’ safety was so great the the union provided $1,200 of their own money to test the headquarters.
“We were very surprised at the positive test results and even more concerned with how the (particles) got into our work space,” said Lobraico.
In addition, Steve DiNapoli, a Big East environmental professional, states that the high levels of asbestos found in the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit indicate that asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were, at some point, disturbed in the past. This may have happened due to a repair or even by cleaning the ceiling. Consequently, DiNapoli’s report suggests that the unit should be abated as soon as possible.
“For a building of that age, with known asbestos containing materials in it, it is not a surprise whatsoever,” said DiNapoli.
If you or a loved one have been injured by negligent exposure to asbestos, it’s important to note that you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill contact our top mesothelioma attorneys today and let us help you win the compensation you may be entitled to.