The Buffalo State Hospital, also known as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, was established in 1880 for the purpose of treating the mentally ill. The hospital was one of the first mental institutions in New York State to therapeutically treat mental illness. The buildings were designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and the landscaping was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. Located on Forest Avenue in Buffalo, New York, Buffalo State Hospital sits on ninety-one acres of land and originally consisted of ten ward buildings and a central administration building. During the 1960s, three of the ward buildings were demolished and additional facilities were constructed, including the Strozzi Building and the Butler Rehabilitation Center. In 1974, the hospital was renamed the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, and the remaining original seven ward buildings closed. The administration building was occupied until 1994, when the administrative offices were moved to the Strozzi Building. In 1973, Buffalo State Hospital was added to the state and national Registers of Historic Places, and in 1986, it was registered as a National Historic Landmark.
Asbestos-containing materials were used during construction and maintenance at Buffalo State Hospital. Workers applied and removed asbestos-containing pipe covering, block insulation, fireproof insulation, thinset and insulating cement at the hospital. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases.
Fireproof insulation was applied to structural steel at Buffalo State Hospital in order to protect the steel from potential fire damage. Asbestos was incorporated into fireproofing because of its resistance to fire. When fireproof insulation was applied or disturbed, asbestos-containing dust and fibers became airborne, which workers inhaled.
Steam and water pipes at Buffalo State Hospital were covered with asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement in order to maintain a constant temperature within plumbing systems. Block insulation was applied to steam boilers, which allowed the boilers to operate more efficiently. Ceramic and marble tiles were held in place with asbestos-containing thinset mortar. Applying and removing asbestos-containing materials emitted asbestos dust into the air.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects for Buffalo State Hospital were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction of Buffalo State Hospital and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.