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UNIONDALE, NY (CBSNewYork) - With concerts, the circus and hockey, the Nassau Coliseum has been a very popular venue for years. But now, state inspectors are looking into whether asbestos inside the coliseum poses a cancer threat.
WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall reports
Nassau County has admitted in the past that there is asbestos in the walls of the coliseum, but attorney Joseph Dell, whose firm represents 75 of the facility’s workers, said this is a major problem and that some of his clients have been diagnosed with cancer.
“I have clients who have lung cancer, I have clients who have just the fear,” he told CBS 2′s Ann Mercogliano. “Their fear is the dry cough turns out to be lung cancer from exposure that they’ve had to asbestos.”
Dell said that he plans to file a federal class action lawsuit against the county.
“We’ve sent bulk samples out to three separate laboratories, and they’ve all come back with very dangerous levels of asbestos,” Dell said. “I represent individuals who have mesothelioma and lung cancer and are at home on oxygen. These folks are very concerned about their health. They’re very worried not only about their own safety, but everyone’s safety.”
The state has launched an asbestos investigation and OSHA said it’s looking into it. The investigation, however, didn’t stop thousands from attending the circus on Saturday.
“I wanted to see the circus. I wasn’t going to get scared off from a little reporting,” said Bob Rostan of East Meadow.
The building is also home to the New York Islanders.
“The Islanders, as the primary tenant, expect that the building owner, Nassau County, and the building facility manager, SMG, will review the allegations and take any and all appropriate action,” said Michael Picker, the team’s senior vice president.
In a statement, County Executive Ed Mangano said that he has long stated that there is a need for a new sports entertainment venue in Nassau County, saying “the Coliseum is the oldest unrenovated facility in the NHL.”
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