Tiff Over Asbestos in Libraries

A couple of libraries down in Long Island are having some trouble with asbestos. Library trustees ordered the buildings closed indefinitely until the outdated fire retardant-now considered a carcinogen-is completely removed. But since the work might not be completed until November, town officials ordered on Tuesday the libraries be reopened. So apparently the librarians are now working in an asbestos filled library!

\"Why is it suitable for our library employees to enter these contaminated areas on a regular basis, and yet it is unsafe for the public to enter them only occasionally?\" Thomas Conoscenti, chairman of the library board of trustees, said in a written statement

The Story is at Newsday.com\"Would the members of the town board want their sons and daughters exposed to this hazardous asbestos?\" Conoscenti added that neither the library board nor the union representing library employees would allow workers to be exposed to asbestos. Town officials argue the buildings are safe, and have accused the library board of politicizing the issue.

\"The area does not pose a danger to anyone, and those libraries could open up today,\" Barnett said. \"There is no health risk...but we should use the closed stack system.\" Town officials originally scheduled asbestos removal from the main library building for next year, and from the Commack branch in 2002. Asbestos removal from town-owned buildings started in 1988 and will continue for the next several years as many other structuresstill contain asbestos.

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