D’Youville College was established in 1908 by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic religious order. It was the first college in Western New York to award bachelor’s degrees to women. Up until 1971, D’Youville admitted only women. The college currently enrolls about 3,000 students per year, and it awards bachelor’s degrees in twenty-seven areas of study. D’Youville also offers graduate-level degrees in thirteen subject areas. The campus consists of eleven buildings on five city blocks in Buffalo, New York. Located on Porter Avenue, the D’Youville College campus has undergone several expansions and renovations since its initial establishment.
Many trades, such as electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, plasterers, laborers, insulators and sheet metal workers were involved in construction and renovation projects at D’Youville College. Up until the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into dozens of building and construction materials. Asbestos-containing fireproofing materials covered structural beams throughout D’Youville’s campus buildings. Fireproofing is a mix of asbestos, cement and waste materials from linen mills. This material was dumped into a machine where it was mixed with water and sprayed onto surfaces with a hose. The fireproofing application process produced clouds of asbestos-containing dust, which remained suspended in the air for days. Fireproofers who applied asbestos-containing fireproofing materials are at high risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases. Additionally, tradesmen, such as electricians or sheet metal workers, frequently disturbed fireproof insulation in order to install conduits or ventilation ducts. Exposure to asbestos-containing materials can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Drywall finishers also utilized asbestos-containing joint compound at D’Youville College in order to fill seams between sheets of drywall. Joint compound or “mud”, was manufactured as a dry mix or ready-mix. After the mud was applied to a wall’s surface and dried, it was sanded down to a smooth surface, which caused asbestos dust to become airborne.
Asbestos was also incorporated into dozens of other building materials throughout D’Youville’s campus. Boilers were covered with asbestos-containing block insulation. Pumps and valves were sealed with asbestos gaskets and covered with asbestos-containing insulating cement. Asbestos-containing ceiling tiles lined hallways and classrooms. Removing and applying asbestos-containing materials released asbestos dust into the air, which exposed workers and college employees to asbestos dust.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects at D’Youville College were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at D’Youville College and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.