New Jersey Inmates Worked in Abestos Site

The city of Paterson, N.J., may have exposed a work team to asbestos during a recent municipal building renovation.

Work on the offices began last fall, but was halted in December after asbestos was discovered in the site’s floor tiles. According to the news Web site, the work team included city public works employees and inmates. These prisoners were participating in a local community service program for nonviolent offenders, dubbed the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP). Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik claimed he was “surprised, disappointed and upset” when he learned that the building contained asbestos.

Paterson’s public works chief says that tests of the floor tiles only turned up low levels of a type of asbestos — and one that does not break up easily when disturbed. The crew didn’t perform any tasks that would have released asbestos fibers, claims the chief.

Nevertheless, Berdnik’s spokesman says: “Under no circumstances would we have potentially exposed or would we have allowed any SLAP inmates to be assigned work around any potentially hazardous material.’’ The sheriff’s office is currently investigating the incident, along with the state government’s health, labor and community affairs departments.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. The fibrous mineral has been linked to a higher risk of developing numerous serious illnesses and conditions, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos, you may be eligible for a mesothelioma lawsuit. Call Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation.