Monroe Community College was established in 1961, as part of the State University of New York system. The college was originally located at the former East High School building in Rochester, New York, but in 1968, a new campus was constructed on East Henrietta Road in Brighton, to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of enrolled students. The Brighton campus currently consists of twenty-six buildings that include classrooms, laboratories, administrative offices, dormitories and athletic facilities. Monroe Community College’s current enrollment is approximately 20,000 students per semester. In recent years, laborers who assisted in the construction of buildings at Monroe Community College have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. During the construction of the Brighton campus, workers applied and removed asbestos-containing materials throughout the campus, including fireproof insulation, pipe covering, insulating cement, block insulation and joint compound. Workers who handled materials that contained asbestos or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
During the construction of buildings at the Brighton campus, asbestos-containing fireproof insulation was sprayed on the structural steel. This material was manufactured as a dry mixture of asbestos, cement and waste from linen mills. Fireproof insulation was packaged in bags, dumped into a machine, mixed with water and sprayed onto structural steel. Mixing and spraying the insulation produced clouds of asbestos-containing dust. In order to gain access to the structural steel, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, sheet metal workers and other tradesmen routinely disturbed the insulation after it was applied. When workers disturbed fireproof insulation, asbestos fibers were emitted into the air.
Asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement were applied to steam and water pipes throughout the Brighton campus. Handling or cutting lengths of pipe covering emitted asbestos-containing dust and fibers into the air. Asbestos insulating cement was used to cover pipe elbows. Insulating cement was manufactured as a dry powder, and it was mixed with water to form a paste. Pouring and mixing the insulating cement caused asbestos-containing dust and fibers to become airborne. Boilers used to heat buildings on the campus were covered with asbestos block insulation. Similar to pipe covering, workers cut block insulation with hand saws to accommodate rounded or irregular parts of the boilers. Cutting block insulation also emitted asbestos fibers and dust.
Dry-mix asbestos-containing joint compound was also utilized in the construction of many buildings at Monroe Community College. Joint compound or mud, was used to seal seams between sheets of drywall. It was manufactured as a dry powder and mixed with water to form a paste. Pouring and mixing joint compound caused asbestos dust to become airborne. Several coats of joint compound were applied to the seams between each piece of drywall. After one coat of joint compound dried, it was sanded before the next coat was applied. Sanding joint compound also emitted asbestos dust and fibers.
Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk for developing serious health problems. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related disease. Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects for Monroe Community College’s Brighton campus were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at Monroe Community College and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.