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Workers alleging asbestos exposure while working in Nassau Coliseum

Asbestos-related problems and the diseases connected with contaminated products are often referred to as if they were only a historical problem, and that they are no longer of any current relevance. Because asbestos has been restricted since the early 1990s, and is no longer used in many of its previous uses, like wallboard, ceiling and floor tiles, pipe and electrical insulation and roofing materials, the suggestion is that it is no longer a problem.

That might be true if all of the materials had be removed from buildings and other structures, using state-of-the-art asbestos abatement procedures, and had been safely disposed of at correctly constructed landfills. Of course that did not happen, and millions of pounds of asbestos containing materials are everywhere throughout the United States.

Virtually every structure built prior to 1990 probably contains varying amounts of this material, and every time one of those homes or other buildings is remodeled or altered, anyone working in the building is at risk to exposure to asbestos contaminated materials.

From New York comes word that more than 100 workers from the Nassau Coliseum are preparing to bring a lawsuit over exposure to asbestos materials in that building. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is the current home of the NHL's New York Islanders.

This is not a building built in the 1940s or 1950s, but one that only opened in 1972, which belies the typical discussion that only shipyard workers from WWII are likely to have contracted mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease.

The workers suing are current and former employees on the Coliseum and independent contractors, such as electricians and carpenters who were employed by the Coliseum and Nassau County, the owner of the building. They claim lab tests have found dangerous levels of asbestos from samples that were tested.

The class action lawsuit could seek damages of $500 million to $1 billion.

Source: CBS New York, "More Than 100 Nassau Coliseum Workers To File Lawsuits Over Asbestos Exposure," Associated Press, March 25, 2013

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