The former Marine Midland Center (now One HSBC Center), located in downtown Buffalo, New York is a 40-story, 841,000 square foot office tower that was once home to Marine Midland Bank. Completed in 1973, the Marine Midland Center was, at the time, the largest building in New York State outside of New York City. In recent years, laborers who assisted in the construction of the Marine Midland Center have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Construction of the Marine Midland Center began in 1969. Up until the mid to late 1970’s, asbestos-containing materials were widely used in the construction industry because of their ability to withstand high heat temperatures. Asbestos was also used for its soundproofing capabilities as well as a fireproofing material. Laborers who assisted in the construction of the Marine Midland Center were often exposed to asbestos fibers and dust from the application of plaster, pipe covering, joint compound and fireproofing materials. Workers who handled materials that contained asbestos or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at high risk for developing an asbestos related disease, such as mesothelioma.
Fire proofers applied asbestos containing fireproofing materials, such as Monokote and Cafco, to the beams, decks and columns at Marine Midland Center. Fireproof insulation is a mix of asbestos, cement and waste materials from linen mills. This material came packaged in bags, which was then dumped into a machine where it was mixed with water and then sprayed onto surfaces with a hose. During the application process, large clouds of dust and fibers were emitted into the air where the material was being applied. Electricians, plumbers and plasterers who also worked in the vicinity where the fireproof material was applied, were also put at risk for exposure to asbestos fibers and dust.
Asbestos containing joint compound and plaster was also utilized in the construction of the Marine Midland Center. About fifty percent of the walls and ceilings at Marine Midland Center were covered with sheet rock and joint compound. Joint compound was applied to seams and joints over drywall tape. After the compound dried, it was then sanded down to a smooth surface. Plaster was utilized on exterior walls and applied as seals on beams. During both the mixing and sanding process of asbestos-containing plaster and joint compound, dust and fibers were released into the air putting not only plasterers at risk for exposure, but others who also worked in the surrounding vicinity.
Asbestos disease does not surface at the moment of exposure, but rather it takes many years to develop. This means that those suffering from asbestos disease now likely had their first exposure to asbestos as long as 15 or 20 years ago, or more. Inhaling dust and asbestos fibers as a result from applying and maintaining asbestos materials, placed many workers at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products at Buffalo's Marine Midland Center. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved on were once employed as a laborer at the Marine Midland Center and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.