Military personnel in the 82nd Airborne Division were unnerved recently by the development of sore throats and coughs following their exposure to various work-sites throughout the Haiti relief effort. Many feared that the coughs could be signs of asbestos contamination like that experienced in the relief efforts following the 9/11 attacks.
The affects of urban disasters are often a lot more complicated and far reaching than is immediately discernible. In the years after the 9/11 attacks hundreds of people made claims against New York City after developing cancers like mesothelioma from inhaling toxic dust in and around ground zero. The city failed to warn workers and others of the asbestos contained in the rubble, putting thousands of people in harm’s way when simple preventative measures could have made a life-saving difference.
The claims regarding New York City’s negligence aren’t only valid, they’re swaying the sympathy of those involved in deciding the case. In fact, just recently a judge involved in the litigation against the city reportedly rejected a settlement offer of nearly $600 million, claiming that the figure was too low for the pain and suffering caused.