Asbestos Threat in My Office

My office for 40 years is in a building that has been experiencing a rash of cancer deaths.  One young professor, very athletic, died about 9 months after the first sign of lung cancer.  People have talked for decades about the need to fix the building.  It is supposed to be shut down for remediation this summer, but that is more likely to stir up the asbestos.

Here are 2 letters that are circulating among the faculty and staff.

Letter 1. “I heard a story just this morning that I am working to have the person step forward and share “on the record”.  I was told that a custodian was told in his HR Orientation that he/they were to get student workers to help on some project “because they wouldn’t be here in 25 years to sue us”.  This was in relation to projects in Butte and the health hazards.  Also,  heard that there were electricians hired for a project and they had to “suit up & wear special masks” for their particular project, again for health issues.

[I remember this work.  It was on my floor, close to my office.  I approached them and they told me that were just doing work with the wiring.]


Hopefully I can get names, and these folks will be willing to have their statements documented.   I’ve been wondering how to go about getting a list of people who have passed from cancer in the last 10 -20 years who worked primarily in Butte Hall.  I know Homer Metcalf recently passed from cancer, although he did smoke.


Letter 2: Tami was a very dear friend of mine and she asked on more than one occasion over the past several years to have the “white dust” that fell on her desk tested by FMS and/or EHS.  Each time she was told there was no problem…right.  I don’t believe it was just coincidence that Beth McMillian, who worked in the same office “suite” as Tami, also passed away from cancer.  Admittedly, I am emotionally involved, but I believe the contaminated air in Butte Hall killed my dear friend.  Tami never smoked and was not exposed to second-hand smoke.  I did months of research after Tami was diagnosed and it is clear the majority of people who have not smoked or been exposed to 2nd hand smoke, especially women, who contract small-cell lung cancer have been exposed to asbestos or radon. 

5 comments so far

  1. redarnie on

    Get some colleagues to chip in if they are interested and go hire your own outside testing firm to come and take a test. If it proves positive bring a lawsuit to recover the cost of your test plus compensation for any harm caused by the cover up (medical costs for lung MRIs etc) and any costs required for moving. You shouldn’t trust the results of your “landlord” anyway so don’t wait for the university to do the test for you. Also sue to have all records disclosed to you.

  2. political economist on

    There are certain types of cancer that are much more likely to occur with asbestos exposure. Finding our the types of cancer that that office workers have suffered and/or died from would be a useful statistic in your quest to figure out what has been going on, I would think.

  3. Why am I so tired? on

    I think I would be considering new employment.Is your job really worth risking your life for? If not an option then I would definitely go ahead with some testing – ASAP

  4. Ed on

    It’s so completely psychotic – just criminally insane – to keep a building going with these problems. Monstrous. Test that stuff and sue these evil people. Then keep writing books.

  5. Mark on

    There is asbestos in the building. When the building was built in 1972, the structural steel members were sprayed with asbestos spray firecoating. When the fire marshall came to inspect the building, he felt the firecoating was too thin and ordered a second coat. By that time, the HVAC system was being installed and they were hit with overspray. The university has admitted that the overspray is falling off and landing on the ceiling tiles.

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