Seattle police officer filed a lawsuit against the city for $ 10 million on Wednesday. The man claims that he was exposed to “extremely dangerous artificial toxin” in January, when he was assigned to clear the camp for the homeless in the industrial area of Sodo.
Officer Timothy Gifford, former member of the city navigation group, which was asked to help eliminate unauthorized homeless camps, claims that on 8 January, he was exposed to high concentrations of toxic chemicals polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during the cleaning of the camp.
According to Gifford, the chemicals worsened his condition, with the result that he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to his lawyer Lincoln Beauregard, formerly the officer was in good physical shape, not counting the state of the liver.
Representative of the Finance Department and the city administration, engaged in reviewing claims, said Wednesday that the Department does not comment on active or lawsuits.
City officials acknowledge that the local industrial sector, where the camp was contaminated, so should have ongoing environmental remediation obligations.
Representatives from Seattle public utilities and the city project in response to emergency situations associated with homelessness, also answered questions from The Times. They stated that since the city has notified dozens of employees of potential exposure to PCBs.
The municipality reported that efforts by the city to identify and notice the homeless who had camped out there continue.
At the request of Gifford for damages also States that 58 other city employees, may also have been exposed to dangerous levels of PCBs at the site. It is said that they were not warned or trained about possible hazards, they were not given proper protective equipment for cleaning of the camp in January.
Gifford was part of the urban navigation group of police officers and employees who are requested to send the homeless to shelters and to clean up the camp, which the city is considered unsafe. Local authorities have formed a team in February 2017, as was intensified cleaning and the elimination of dozens of camps for the homeless as part of a strategy to overcome the crisis of homelessness in Seattle.
About five months after harvest inspector on control of public utilities in Seattle Michael Jeffers felt a strong smell in that place. This prompted him to collect soil samples. As a result, experts have revealed extremely high levels of PCBs, after which it was decided to secure the area. The city has consulted with state and Federal environmental regulators, and began work on cleaning.
Federal Agency for the protection of the environment considers high levels of PCBs a safety concern, said Dave Bartus, project coordinator of clean-up of toxic substances.
Officials associated with the cleaning, I suspect that a homeless camp, collects metal, could make out an electrical transformer and to pour out the contaminated fluid, said Bartus.
“We don’t want to offend anyone, said Bartus, but it’s the only thing we could come up with.”
Originally produced in the United States chemical giant Monsanto, PCBs were widely used in electrical equipment, hydraulic fluids, paints, lubricants and other industrial products for 1929-1979 and Use of PCBs have been banned since 1979, but these chemical compounds continue to be widespread. As a result of spills, leaks, and improper neutralization occur contamination of ecosystems around the world.
People are exposed to PCBs, inhaling vapors, touching contaminated materials or eating contaminated foods such as fish and dairy products. PCBs can have many serious adverse health effects — from skin rashes to autoimmune diseases, possibly even cancer.