From 1957 until 2004, The Federal Reserve Building located on Delaware Avenue in downtown, Buffalo was home to the Buffalo branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Since 2006, this building has served as the corporate headquarters for the New Era Cap Company. During the construction of the Federal Reserve Building in the mid 1950’s, a variety of asbestos-containing building materials were incorporated into its construction. 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.
Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos in the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into numerous building materials. Asbestos-containing fireproofing was one of the most widely used and most dangerous materials used during the construction of the Federal Reserve Building. During the fireproofing process, a building's structural steel is coated with a fire resistant material to protect it from high temperatures or fire damage. The fireproof insulation used during the construction of the Federal Reserve Building was a mixture of asbestos, linen and cement. This material was packaged in bags, and dumped into a machine where it was mixed with water and then sprayed onto the Federal Reserve Building’s steel substructure. During the application process of fireproofing, large clouds of dust and fibers were emitted into the air of the buildings where the material was being applied. Even long after this material was applied, the smallest vibrations had the potential to dislodge fibers into the air. In addition to fire proofers, iron workers, plumbers and electricians who worked with rebar and conduits on or in the vicinity of fireproofing material, were also put at risk for exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos-containing pipe covering and block insulation were also applied to pipe work and boilers throughout the Federal Reserve Building. Handling and cutting asbestos-containing pipe covering and block insulation emitted asbestos fibers into the air. Insulating cement was applied on pipe elbows. This cement was manufactured as a dry powder and was mixed with water to form a paste-like substance. When the dry mix was poured into a tub or bucket and mixed, a cloud of asbestos-containing dust was released into air, where it remained for quite some time. Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those not who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Various unions and companies throughout Western New York employed many laborers who worked on construction projects, such as the Federal Reserve Building. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction of the Federal Reserve Building and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.