For about 40 years, the Nassau Coliseum has been a popular entertainment venue. Hosting everything from the Ringling Brothers circus to New York Islander hockey games, the coliseum has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors. However, with recent claims that asbestos is covering the arena, the future of the site is unknown. Property owners have not responded.
Reports of a white powder on floors and walls prompted investigations. Workers say that when they would drill into the walls, fibers would be released into the air. Concerned for their own safety, one worker collected a sample of the substance. The worker brought the sample to three separate testing facilities where it was determined that there were dangerous levels of asbestos in the arena’s boiler room, loading dock and public stairwells.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to investigate the area, various visitors, performers, plumbers, electricians and other workers are worried about exposure. Additionally, a spokesperson for the New York Islanders, who are the primary tenants of the building, says that they want to protect the fans and players who have spent so much time in the venue.
It is reported that the Nassau Coliseum is the oldest sports complex in the country that has not been renovated since it first opened. In the forty years that it has been opened, most companies no longer use asbestos because the risks of exposure are well known now. It is not known why renovations have not been performed as of yet. Depending on the results of the investigation, workers and others who may have been exposed may want to seek compensation.
Source: NBC New York, “Asbestos Investigation Underway at Nassau Coliseum,” Greg Cergol, March 26, 2012