Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Is Rikers Island hazardous to health?
From Fox 5:
Is Rikers Island making people sick? Five corrections officers are suing New York City claiming that after decades of work at the jail -which sits on top of a former landfill- they are suffering from cancer.
Good Day New York spoke with Officers Jacqueline Bede and Vanessa Parks and their attorney, Seth Harris of the Burns & Harris Law Firm.
"Too many of us are coming down with cancer. Too many of us are retiring with cancer and too many of us are dying before our 20 year retirement," said Parks, 51, who has colon cancer.
"The smell, makes me nauseous. All day, it's a terrible smell," said Bede, 49, who has uterine cancer.
The City denies that Rikers Island is causing cancer.
"The corrections officer union did a study a few years ago because of so many complaints by constituents. Many are sick from methane gas that is leaking through the soil. Rikers Island is a landfill. It's where we used to get rid of garbage. They tried to put in a methane gas barrier 20 years ago that isn't working because the alarms keep going off. In the 90s, they did a study to appease the workers but they never tested the soil," said Harris.