Cop Cleaned Up Seattle Homeless Site. Dangerous Chemicals There Triggered Him To File This Lawsuit.

This week, a Seattle policeman who had cleaned up a homeless camp in January filed suit against the city, claiming he had been exposed to toxic chemical compounds polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Officer Timothy Gifford was cleaning up a camp in a gravel lot in the Sodo neighborhood when he was allegedly exposed to the chemicals. As the Seattle Times notes, "City records and officials have acknowledged the homeless-encampment removal occurred, and separately, that the city-owned industrial lot where the camp stood was later found to be contaminated, requiring ongoing environmental remediation."
The Seattle Times added, "Gifford was among the city's Navigation Team of police officers and outreach workers assigned to coax homeless campers into shelters and remove encampments the city has deemed unsafe. The city formed the team in February 2017 as it intensified efforts to clean up and remove dozens of homeless encampments."
Giffords filed a $10 million claim, saying exposure to the chemicals had triggered early onset Type 2 diabetes. The lawsuit cites a medical research study that linked exposure to PCBs as a possible trigger for increased diabetes. The lawsuit also notes that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "banned the production of PCBs in the United States in 1977." It follows by stating that the problem with the area Giffords had been working in was allegedly discovered five months later: 
On June 5, 2019, SPU Source Control Inspector Michael Jeffords was driving through the industrial area of south Seattle in the lower Duwamish Waterway drainage area. He noticed a strong smell of PCBs in the air as he drove east on Denver Ave S and stopped the car … He changed his work plans for the day and gathered supplies to take samples of the roadway shoulder right-of-way (ROW) and adjacent stormwater inlet and catch basin for PCB analysis …
On June 19, 2019 sample analytical results came back for the ROW and stormwater structures taken at the on June 5, 2019. The ROW sample had PCB level of 40, 300 ppm, well above our level of concern of 1 ppm. In addition, the stormwater inlet had 6.970 ppm PCBs and the catch basin solids were at 69 ppm.
The lawsuit asserts, "According to internal documents that have not been released to the general public, it is believed that at least 59 employees of the city of Seattle were exposed to the PCBs at the homeless encampment." It concludes, "Overall, the city of Seattle caused the injuries to Officer Gifford by allowing the homeless encampment to exist in the first place thereby creating a dangerous nuisance to the community."
Dave Bartus, an EPA toxic cleanup project coordinator, told the Seattle Times that officials involved with the cleanup believe the PCBs may have come from a homeless camp resident draining fluids from an electrical transformer.
Giffords’ attorney, Lincoln Beauregard, stated, "My client’s objective for filing this claim isn’t solely about his own medical needs. He wants to make sure that the other city workers who may have been exposed know that they could be sick, too, and he wants the city to put protocols in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again."
Powered by Blogger.