New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of a three-year investigation into Verizon’s cooling towers on buildings throughout the state.
These cooling towers are needed to keep electronics from overheating and melting. The towers occasionally spray water in the air; if the proper maintenance is not done to disinfect the towers, bacteria and other pathogens are sprayed into the air as well.
Legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by Legionella bacteria, is one of those pathogens. The illness got its name after there was an outbreak of the disease at a convention for the American Legion, a veterans’ organization, in 1976. Although it is often found in natural water sources, such as ponds, streams, and lakes, this bacterium becomes problematic when it finds its way into water systems that are built by humans, such as hot tubs, sinks, and plumbing.
There are a wide range of steps and monitoring operations that building owners and companies must follow to keep these towers safe. After a 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx, state and local governments in New York passed laws to regulate these towers more strictly after 138 people caught the disease and 16 people died.
The attorney general’s investigation found that Verizon, and the companies it uses to maintain the towers, failed to regularly inspect and properly disinfect its cooling towers. New York’s investigation should be a loud warning to any and all companies utilizing these cooling towers.
If you or a loved one contracted Legionnaires’ disease, contact Selinger Law Group today for a free consultation.
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