Constructed in 1969, the Main Place complex is comprised of the Main Place Tower and Main Place Mall. Standing at twenty-six stories, the tower is the fourth-tallest building in Buffalo and houses commercial offices. Main Place Mall is the only shopping mall in downtown Buffalo, and in recent years, it has lost a great deal of its retail shops to suburban shopping centers. Asbestos-containing materials were utilized during the construction of the Main Place mall and tower, including fireproofing, ceiling tiles and pipe covering. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Asbestos-containing fireproof insulation was applied to the building’s structural steel in order to protect it from high temperatures and fire damage. Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos was widely used as a component of fireproof insulation because of its resistance to heat and fire. This insulation was manufactured as a dry powder and shipped in heavy paper bags. Prior to application, the dry mix was poured into a machine and mixed with water. It was then sprayed onto steel structure surfaces. Dumping, mixing and spraying fireproof insulation created clouds of asbestos-containing dust. Other construction trades, including electricians, pipefitters, and carpenters routinely disturbed the fireproof insulation in order to gain access to the structural steel. The tradesmen scraped away bits of the fireproofing with a metal scraper or screwdriver, emitting asbestos fibers into the work area.
Asbestos-containing acoustical ceiling tiles were installed in some areas during the construction of the Main Place complex. Simply handling ceiling tiles produced asbestos-containing dust. In order to accommodate irregular parts of a ceiling, or to allow for ventilation and lighting, it was often necessary to cut ceiling tiles using a jab saw. Cutting the ceiling tiles emitted asbestos dust and fibers into the breathing area of nearby workers.
Pipe covering that contained asbestos was also applied to pipe work throughout the Main Place complex. Handling or cutting lengths of pipe covering emitted asbestos-containing dust and fibers into the air. In order to cover a pipe elbow, insulating cement was used. Asbestos-containing cement was manufactured as a dry powder, and it was mixed with water to form a paste-like substance. Pouring and mixing the insulating cement caused asbestos-containing dust and fibers to become airborne. Those who worked in the vicinity of where pipe insulation was cut and cement mixed are at risk of developing mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on the construction of the Main Place complex were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at the Main Place Mall and Tower and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.