Founded in 1846, the State University of New York at Buffalo is the largest and most comprehensive campus in the SUNY system which is comprised of 64 campuses. The University at Buffalo consists of three campuses (North, South and Downtown Bioinformatics Campus). Opened in the early 1970s the University’s North Campus currently has more than 100 buildings, including a dormitory complex, apartment style student housing and state of the art academic buildings throughout its 1,200 acre campus.
Construction of the University’s North Campus began in the early 1970s. Laborers who assisted in the construction of the Campus’ buildings have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos-containing fireproofing, joint compound and pipe covering were used in the construction of buildings. 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.
Fire proofers who applied asbestos-containing fireproofing materials, such as Monokote, are at high risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Fireproof insulation is a mix of asbestos, cement and waste materials from linen mills. This material came packaged in bags, which was then dumped into a machine where it was mixed with water and then sprayed onto surfaces with a hose. During the application process, large clouds of dust and fibers were emitted into the air of the buildings where the material was being applied. Electricians and plasterers who also worked on or in the vicinity of the University’s Law School, Ellicott Complex and buildings in the Spine of the Campus, where the fireproof material was applied, were also put at risk for exposure to asbestos fibers and dust.
Asbestos-containing joint compound and pipe covering were also utilized in the construction process of North Campus buildings. Joint compound was applied to seams and joints over drywall tape. After the compound dried, it was sanded down to a smooth surface. During both the mixing process of asbestos joint compound and the sanding process, dust and fibers were released into the air putting not only plasterers at risk for exposure, but others who also worked in the same vicinity.
Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer. Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects on the North Campus were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at the University at Buffalo, North Campus and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.