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Posted on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Radon and asbestos concerns in Ann Arbor city hall left police employees 'petrified about their health'

By Lee Higgins

Being exposed to high radon levels and possibly asbestos in the basement of Ann Arbor city hall sparked fear among police officers that was “off the charts,” according to an email sent last year by a police union official to the city’s safety manager.

A sworn affidavit by that same official says, “approximately 20 retired or current officers have reported some types of cancer that could be a result of asbestos or radon exposure.”


The basement offices of city hall, at right, had high radon readings, one factor that officials said prompted the construction of the new police-courts building, which now stands adjacent to city hall.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The email and affidavit by Officer Dawn King, who is the former vice president of the police officers' union, were included to support a whistleblower lawsuit King filed against the city last summer in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

The documents illustrate the concerns among some in the police department about radon levels in the basement of city hall, where several police department offices were housed until 2009. Recently released city records indicate that the cancer-causing gas was present at levels seven times the federal safety level.

In the lawsuit, King alleged that she injured her shoulder and back at work and the city refused to reopen her accident fund compensation case as retaliation because she called the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration last April to complain of elevated levels of carbon monoxide in city hall.

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Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Timothy Connors dismissed the suit in February, but King is appealing. King declined to comment Monday on the suit or affidavit. The affidavit does not name the approximately 20 officers or describe their conditions.

City Attorney Stephen Postema said Connors made the correct decision in dismissing the lawsuit. "The circuit court correctly ruled that there was no factual or legal basis to the plaintiff’s whistleblower claim, and, in fact, the plaintiff herself admitted that the city had no knowledge of her alleged anonymous report to even be a whistleblower," he said.

Records recently obtained by under the Freedom of Information Act show that radon levels in the city hall basement far exceeded amounts that pose cancer risks. Court records from the lawsuit show that police department employees had serious concerns about health risks from radon and asbestos, primarily in the basement, beginning as early as November 2008.

Police union officials suspect there may be a link between the radon and asbestos issues and the deaths of two officers. Vada Murray, 43, an Ann Arbor police officer for two decades and a former defensive back for the University of Michigan football team, died April 6, two-and-a-half years after a lung cancer diagnosis. Neither Murray, nor his parents, smoked. His diagnosis was consistent with mesothelioma, often caused by exposure to asbestos, the email says.

And Jason Zogaib, 35, a veteran of the department for more than 10 years, died March 13, 2009, after a two-year fight against leukemia.

In November 2008, King told Police Chief Barnett Jones about the union's environmental concerns, the affidavit says. Officers were given the go-ahead to begin moving out in February 2009 from the basement. However, concerns about potential exposure to asbestos continued into 2010, records show.

King sent an email on March 12, 2010, to City Safety Manager Bob Cariano and copied Jones, Deputy Police Chief John Seto, City Manager Roger Fraser and other people outlining the union's concerns.

According to the email, the union's concerns about radon and asbestos prompted it to query its membership and retirees about health issues.

"Within those two groups we have a very high percentage of sick people...illnesses that can be attributed to asbestos or radon," the email says.

Officers were concerned, the email says, because the building "was laden with asbestos and we had been walking amongst ceiling leaks, falling ceiling tiles with the suspicion that they or the ceiling space above contained asbestos." They asked to be moved out of the building during construction, but were denied, the email says.

Cariano did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Officer John Elkins, president of the police officers' union, known as the Ann Arbor Police Officers Association, said in a statement Monday that both the city and union have been aware of high radon levels in city hall since the early 1990s. He pointed specifically to high levels in the basement work spaces and basement locker rooms used by all police employees.

"On numerous occasions, the AAPOA has brought these high exposure levels to the attention of the city administration, with little to no actions taken to adequately and effectively mitigate these levels," Elkins said. "In addition to the exposure to elevated levels of radon, our members were exposed to both asbestos and mold throughout the former police facility, both of which carry health concerns that are in addition to those linked to high radon exposure."

Along with providing professional police services to city residents, Elkins said the union's priority continues to be the health and safety of its members and retirees that worked in the old police facility. He said the union will continue to fight to ensure current officers and retirees are provided adequate health care by the city.

In King's email, she appealed to people to reflect on the issue from the “mindset of a husband, wife, mother, father or grandparent.”

“I can tell you that many AAPD employees are petrified about their health...." the email says.

“As police officers we are rarely ‘petrified.” Several of us have been shot at. (myself included). We get into physical altercations, walk into domestic situations at homes where the suspect has the upper hand, work on slippery expressways (where we watched a fellow firefighter lose her life), drive at high speeds in some circumstances, deal with felons who are armed and unarmed. This is part of what we do — and yes — sometimes we get concerned or anxious.

"But fear to the level that we are hearing with this building is off the charts.”

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

This is not a new issue, city officials knew years ago that unsafe work conditions existed in even greater magnitude than highlighted in the recent articles. This can be confirmed through the freedom of information act. As the partner of an Ann Arbor police officer it both angers and frightens me how the city responded to and failed to protect its officers. These are honorable people who are 100% committed to protecting our community. Yet, city officials have routinely hidden, and covered up testing results leaving our officers and city employees at risk . Twice during the past year, the construction crew at city hall flooded the building with carbon monoxide. In the first incident there were lethal levels of 800 ppm found in areas of the 1st and 6th floors. City officials told the employees that there had been an exposure, offered medical aid and sent them home. Then after sending them home, non-union employees were charged for their time off. At no time were the employees told the levels that they had been exposed to. These were our officers and city employees; two of which were pregnant officers who had been assigned to the front desk. It seems to me that the more appropriate response would have been to : 1) advise them of the level of exposure, 2) advise them to seek medical attention, and 3) send the bill for the medical expenses and time missed at work to the construction company who was responsible for the incident. We the community need to hold our city officials accountable to protect the lives of those who are sworn and willing to put theirs on the line for us.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

More cover up by the City, I wonder what else they are hiding? They knew and did nothing. NOTHING.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 8 p.m.

The City talks a huge game when it comes to "Green" and "Public Safety"...but when it comes right down to the rubber meeting the road, its all lip service....or perhaps a ongoing ploy to get government grants by appearing to be engaged in all of this. Examine the evidence: 1. They make developers and homeowners appear multiple times to get approvals for simple little things, then ignore titanic safety issues in their own police basement. 2. They put little oprange stickers on YOUR garbage if you haven't cut your lawn refuse to the proper length, yet the highways and downtown areas for which they are responsible, are strewn with garbage. 3. The look to a city income tax to increase revenues, then give Roger Fraser 60% ofhis salary and lifetime healthcare after 9 years on the job. The priority of city govenment is to make the residents jump through the hoops they put there -- but they are allowed to completely ignore them.

say it plain

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

How shameful the city has been... @Kai Petainen has good cause to 'wonder' about Ann Arbor and its vaunted enviro-activist reputation. What a farce our Mayor has been, our City Council, and the employees of that toxic City hall (City hall itself!) basement have paid, will continue to pay, for the ill will and negligence of these 'leaders'. I wonder how they rationalize it to themselves, probably would be interesting to hear. Hey, I guess we know better now why the City's attorneys are a high budget priority and why they maintain a 'secrecy default' on FOIA policy too, lots and lots to hide. Will THIS finally get people to vote the bums out?!

Travis Michael

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Exposure to radon gas and asbestos fibers have both been linked to lung cancer. Asbestos is extremely dangerous as inhalation of the fibers has been linked to mesothelioma, asbestosis and many other diseases. Hopefully this building will be cleaned up to prevent further toxic exposure. Regards, TM <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Mr. Tibbs

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

The upper echilon at the city hall really doesn't understand the scope of the problem. Asbestos acts like a gas, if you do not handle it properly, it does get everywhere. It is and or has gone through out the building. An allegation? OK consider this. When has anyone ever heard of a completely airtight air circulation system? So when the guys in maintenance disturbed the asbestos above the dropped ceiling, it was taken into the air conditioning recirculation ductwork. And quite possibly circulated all through the building. And when the one guy who recognized it tried to do something about &quot;it&quot; well let's just say he was not ahndled properly either! and these are the people making 100K know, the people who aren't quite smart enough to work at pfizer yet are making these decisions. now imagine these government types making health care decisions for YOU!


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

@ tiredncranky, I lost a loved one to lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Have you heard about mesothelioma? Black mold can cause other serious lung diseases as well. Perhaps the combination of the three contaminants in the basement created a brew that is more toxic than the single components on their own. You can't look at data from just one substance and draw conclusions solely on that.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

You can bet your city attorneys will be busy fighting FOIA claims on this. I'd love to know how many emails and letters were ignored. Remember, these are your elected officials hard at work, the same ones who are scrambling to destroy your professional fire service.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

Hey city council... you starting to open your eyes yet? Fraser's comments about his pension, bashing FD, PD having to deal with this for years of it being covered up. You starting to wake up and see that your other 'buddy' that has the 'look of distaste frozen in his eyes' is full of it? Maybe it's time to stop listening to one side of the story (Roger) and come out to talk to the working people. Or maybe you should just keep living in your bubble. Seems to be working for you so far.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Okay... it seems some here don't read the entire article before posting uninformed comments. The Police employees TRIED to deal with management on this for years. They brought forth many concerns about radon and ASBESTOS. The police union hired their own environmental firm to prove the case. Still management ignored the warnings of both carcinogens. Meanwhile - current officers and retirees were sick with cancers. The Vice President of the union then sent an e-mail pleading for attention to the matter. When not getting any results . . . the union THEN went to a STATE regulatory agency - NOT THE PRESS!!! How can one think that this is a ploy for healthcare or attention? The funeral of a beloved community figure and officer finally brought a horrible situation to light. Too bad Mr. Murray had to take &quot;one for the team&quot; in the final sense. This situation is absolutely disgusting and likely criminal...


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

All cancer deaths are tragic but not all cancers come from on specific source. And I did read the article and you embellished it significantly.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

This is cleary not a joke and not a ploy just to get better health care. They city should want to take care of these people that are clearly sick from their negligence. Yes radon is a problem all over the county. Yes it is not easy to get rid of. I would not put my kids bedroom in the basement if I knew I had a radon problem that I couldn't control. But the Mayor and City administrator allowed people to spend hours upon hours in a potentially hazardous environment. This is on their shoulders 100%. They should have acted immediatly and moved them else where. They finally did it after years and years but it was to late wasn't it. We have already lost 2 great men.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

@townie54 This isn't a joke, it is an issue that no one needs to panic over. If I argued that the sun was dangerous and that no one should ever go out in the sun, that we should only go out at night or if needed completely covered up in the day it would sound ridiculous, yet the sun does cause skin cancer. It is just something we live with and accept and try to limit exposure to. I get upset when people use terms like cancer cluster and instill panic over things that can't be eliminated completely. I get upset when people who have cancer are led to believe they got sick because of neglect from others when there is absolutely no proof that has happened, just speculation. Yes, the city should and needs to buy a better mitigation system. But it is NOT easy to get radon down to acceptable levels in all cases. Test your own home and then you might see how difficult it is sometimes.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

@tiredncranky you said you disagreed with the timing of the complaint. There were complaints about the building years ago, so I think it is overall valid, do you mean the &quot;whistle blowers&quot; complaint, well maybe she is using it for her individual cause. But overall cops were complaining about the basement for years and that is valid, which it sounds like you agree about. As for the mold issue, not all mold is black, and even &quot;black&quot; mold isn't always black. Some mold is near colorless or hard to see as it can be white or yellow. Even if you go down in your own basement and it smells musty you probably have some mold, mold feeds off organics, like the paper on drywall or cardboard boxes. additionally, mold can cause distress, which can be excused for allergies or a common cold. (as well I suppose radon too). Officers Zogaib and Murray sadly may just be the first deaths attributed to the basement, we may not know if there are more deaths or illiness for several more years.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

The point you seem to be missing is that this is not isolated to this building. Radon is everywhere. That is the problem I have with people panicking over this. It is in many of your homes, is natural and sometimes you can't get rid of it. You pay attention to it and try and minimize your risk it, but all cancers out in the world are not attributed to it. The only way to avoid it at all costs is to live in a bubble. I have a major problem with all the inflammatory rhetoric such as there is a cancer cluster due to the radon and asbestos. The doses would need to be much higher and for much longer periods of time for their to be an effect. Mold is a different issue, but the official black mold is very rare ( not all mold that is colored black is the &quot;black mold&quot; that causes illness). But again cancer would not be the likely cause from that. I agree the building was awful, which is why I fully supported the new police courts building. I just disagree with the timing of their complaints. I truly wish they were this vocal years ago about it if they were this unhappy.

say it plain

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

There can never be absolute proof, why is that so upsetting? There is only probabilities, and the EPA has deemed that the likelihood of causing extra (that is, that wouldn't have happened without the exposure) cancers from exposure to radon starts getting unacceptable at a certain level...the city allowed people to work in a space that was at times greatly in excess of that. How is this in any way causing a panic, to acknowledge that fact? Were the employees exposed to this stuff scared? Are they now? Perhaps indeed! You might not react this way, apparently, but many people could be expected to, if they saw as much stuff falling out of the ceiling that they knew could be very dangerous to their lungs and if they saw a radon mitigation system that never truly worked properly and if they saw black mold and leaks everywhere. Perhaps as they worked there they felt the stale air, and felt it affect their lungs, the mold and all, goodness it sounds awful, and they worried. And then when some of them started to get ill, perhaps that got them worried some more. Why is this so hard to accept as an idea?


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

for some peoples comments that think this is a joke.Radon is proven to be the second leading cause of lung cancer .Southeastern Michigan is a hot spot for Radon gas.And it is easy to get it down to safe levels.It doesnt cost much.This is sheer nrglect..Period


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

@David Cahill Are you purposely trying to spread misinformation? There are NOT twenty lung cancer cases amongst the police officers who are non-smokers. Radon and asbestos have been linked to LUNG cancer, not other cancers. I have seen no evidence (yet) that shows twenty lung cancer cases. If you have the data then prove it. As for other people getting sick throughout their lives, people get sick, people get cancer, it is extremely hard to link it to any one cause. Calling this a cancer cluster is absolutely ridiculous. Radon and asbestos for that matter is in in many of our homes, especially if you have an older home. I see no benefit to evoking fear, outrage and panic over something that is everywhere, has always been around and can only be mitigated and not eliminated.

David Cahill

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

I don't think it's a good idea to attribute &quot;bad&quot; motives to those concerned with their health. Twenty people among a workforce probably numbering several hundred altogether is a large cancer cluster.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

I would also like to add that in yesterday's article by Ryan Stanton he says that "all the numbers Records dating back to the early 1990s show readings as high as 20 pCi/L, though most readings on reports viewed by hovered between 6 and 10 pCi/L." So it appears that the readings were high before the initial mitigation system was installed in the early 1990's but was under 10pCi/L with fluctuations after that. It fluctuated between 6pCi/L and 10pCi/L and was not in a constant state. Radon typically fluctuates with the seasons and weather. I admit there may need to be a new system installed but this in no way a life threatening crisis. If you think it is, I suggest you don't go out in the sun, drive in traffic, smoke, drink alcohol excessively, or use your basement in your home.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

you are correct, the season can effect a reading, however lets assume that the high readings were just the spikes, the officers were still exposed long term to radon in a fluctuating amount. &quot;safe&quot; levels have to be at or below a certain level. If the basement had housed a daycare or hospital ward no one would want to be down there or in this town if it was a homeless shelter you can bet the city council would have thrown a fit and closed the area down. working among buckets, dripping water, &quot;musty smell&quot;, falling ceiling tiles, asbestos and radon and MOLD is completely unsafe, disgusting and detremental to health, even if it does not result in cancer, which even some people take longer to develope than others.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

The safe amount is under 4pCi/L. So if readings were between 6 and 10pCi/l they should have taken action.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

Conceptually it is possible...but not probable based on what has been reported so far. Anything can be possible. There are no facts yet that point to Vada Murry's cancer being linked to the basement. The numbers found there are really not that high if you read the literature on radon exposure. No one knows what his exposure was throughout his life in many of his homes. There are way too many &quot;ifs&quot; to make blanket statements about what happened. There needs to be more data. I am the one being openminded and not passing judgement based on little data. Many homes and workplaces have this problem. If it was unique to this building it would be a different story.

say it plain

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

but, don't you see the point, you can't *force* someone to smoke ciggies, or drink excessively, or drive recklessly or whatever your choice of risky-behavior for comparison may be. These employees,as a condition of their employment, had to stay in a space that was perhaps quite detrimental to their health. I don't see what's so hard about that conceptually...


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

I find it appalling that the police are using this issue to further their negotiations at the bargaining table. First of all it would have been beneficial if the police brought up the issue publicly when the debate over the new police/courts building was happening. If this was truly a life or death issue for them they would have been more vocal about the issue. But they were basically quiet letting the city defend itself against the vocal minority in the city who were vehemently trying to keep the police in that basement. The city was trying to mitigate the problem over the years with mitigation systems and the prospect of a new building while many activists who were anti-police were fighting against any move at all. I am glad that the city prevailed and we have our wonderful new justice center. With that said however, radon is a problem and not a crisis. Radon is everywhere and cannot be eliminated just mitigated. It is a natural radioactive gas that is probably in your basement now. It was probably in your basement in the house you grew up in. There is only one cancer that has been linked to radon and that is lung cancer; no other illnesses or cancers are related or linked to radon in any way. To blame other illnesses on radon just inflames the issue and diminishes any valid argument that might be there. Keep in mind that the sun also causes cancer, skin cancer, but you don't blame it for causing other cancers or have the workplace responsible for eliminating it; mitigation is different, but elimination is impossible. Workers who work outside are not required to work at night or in full body suits to avoid the sun. It is natural; you mitigate the risk with sunscreen. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

&quot;But they were basically quiet letting the city defend itself against the vocal minority in the city who were vehemently trying to keep the police in that basement. The city was trying to mitigate the problem over the years with mitigation systems and the prospect of a new building while many activists who were anti-police were fighting against any move at all.&quot; Clearly shows your lack of knowledge on the subject. The police officers have been moved from the basement for several years because they demanded it and filed a grievance to make it happen. The entire patrol division was moved and it received a short blurb about Radon with no follow-up from the local rag . The patrol division was relocated to the Wheeler Ctr in Pittsfield Twp (and still is) and the Investigators were at U of M during the construction. Do some research. Water intrusion, mold, friable asbestos and Radon are all documented in evidence that I read in a report commissioned by the police officers union. Your comment is not credible based on these FACTS.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

tired, you express sympathy for the loved ones of the dead yet your line &quot;I find it appalling that the police are using this issue to further their negotiations at the bargaining table.&quot; doesn't really express any sympathy at all. I hope Mr Murray isn't reading your post. Heaven help us all.

say it plain

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

@tiredandcranky, you are doing a lot of logical contortions to make your case that the city should not be held responsible here. I can show you links about how black mold *is* thought to cause cancer, what evidence do you have that it isn't?! It is also tied to various other health concerns. And why wouldn't asbestos in materials under the ceiling tiles be an especially great concern for the folks under the crumbling tiles in the basement?


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

If Black mold was a problem more people throughout the building would be sick not just the officers in the basement and black mold has not been proven to cause cancer. Asbestos is another issue and again would be a problem for the entire building. Honestly, I would have more empathy for their accusation if they came out with this accusation years ago, publicly, when the ongoing relentless arguments over the new police/courts building were going on. The police sat back and actually backed the candidates for council who were against moving them to a new location. I actually think, but could be mistaken that the police union endorsed the candidate who was against their new headquaters. That to me does not add up to a police force that is &quot;petrified&quot; of their working conditions. I,as a resident of the city, never heard the police say they wanted a new building. I would think that if they were that petrified they would have been campaigning for new space. I do have compassion for those who are ill and their families but until more data is put forth that shows the actual cause, I think that hyperbole, inflammatory rhetoric and unproven accusations does nothing for the surviving family members except for prolonging their grief.

steve h

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

it's too bad people don't read the whole article and then comment. Thank you say it plain for pointing out that mold and asbestos exposure also cause health issues. it's not just about the radon

say it plain

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

It is claimed there was also black mold in the basement, and the stories about persistent leaks and rotting/falling ceiling tiles support that. Black mold is linked to liver and kidney problems, and cancers of the esophagus, blood (as in Leukemia, like the younger officer who recently died?!) and other cancers. What should they have been doing, these employees who asked to be moved out of this environmental disaster zone? Holding their breath?!

zip the cat

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

Time for a class action lawsuit for everyone who worked in the basement. Shows you how much they cared for there workers


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

This is all a bunch of noise the police union is using to get the taxpayers feeling sorry for them. They are thinking this will give them a bigger stick and a chair at the head of the &quot;negotiation table&quot;. Timing is everything is it not ? Good Day


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:09 a.m.

Snoop, I would be asking about the timing. From what I've read this complaint by the police union is over 3 years old and the documents go back over 20 years.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Snoop..... I'd say the bigger concern is whether these &quot;issues&quot; were disclosed to the City's health insurance carrier. If they disclosed, then the carrier would have demanded ongoing testing and remediation. If they did not disclose they could be in for serious repayment of lost premiums and payouts. Theoretically, an official who signed off on the disclosure that lacked it could be in line for insurance fraud. It is the Health Insurance company that might have the biggest stick in this fight.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Most lawsuits are indeed frivolous and lowbrow, e.g. suing over hot coco at McDs or complaining about hair dye that turned someone's hair green. Yet, regarding this radon debacle, I hope the Police Union is able to throw the book at the City of Ann Arbor and get a million dollar settlement for what is clearly negligence and operating under bad faith with the Police Union. Shame on the city!


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

If you were to read the Mcdonalds coffee case you would know that was not a frivolous suit. It was merely portrayed that way by the media. That particular McDonalds ha received hundreds of complaints about the temperature and the ladys cup basically melted. . . .

Patricia Lesko

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

Well, finally. Officer King told me that she has been trying to get Arbor News to expose this for, literally, years. That was the one part of the story you forgot to mention, conveniently. Obviously, simply &quot;bringing the situation to the attention of city officials,&quot; including Roger Fraser, wasn't enough. Taxpayers will be on the hook for millions in health care premiums to help the officers deal with the consequences of this exposure. Worse still, elected officials, whom King spoke to, did absolutely nothing to force Fraser to remedy the radon/asbestos problem.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:22 p.m.

What happened to Ann Arbor? When I moved here, did I have a false impression that this was an activist enviro friendly town? Instead I see enviro groups that don't speak up (but collect money and write happy newsletters), cig butts on the sidewalks, a dioxane plume, dismissed chromium in the Huron River, high radon levels overlooked by officials, $40 million $$ parking lots being built near parks/rivers, people being censored in the ann arbor news, and an unsolved 'we're moving beyond this' oil spill in the Huron River. Ann Arbor, what is happening to you?

Kai Petainen

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

I read the following today and I think about the unpopular mysteries (spill) I ask about, or even some of the hard questions (eg. funds) that i ask in my forbes articles....and I really like what Coleman said today.... it's very well written/stated and makes me proud to be a part of this community. &quot;Protecting students' and the faculty's right to pursue lines of inquiry and express ideas without fear of reprisal is fundamental to the University's core missions of research and education. The pursuit of answers, however unpopular, cannot be constricted if we are to remain a place of open and vigorous debate.&quot; -- Mary Sue Coleman


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

I've read the articles and it appears the repeatedly used term &quot;high levels&quot; were short periodic spikes and that the city continually worked to mitigate the radon levels to between 5 or 6 on average which is just a little higher than the 4 that's considered safe. I think it's a shame that the union is using the tragic deaths of these two officers to enhance their contract negotiations. How about all the other Michiganders who have died of cancer? What are the state percentages? What are their home readings? Was anyone ever exposed to second hand smoke in a bar, restaurant, work place, other social setting, etc. etc.? These are cops and they are supposed to deal with facts and evidence and what they are doing is very unprofessional trying to &quot;make their case&quot; in the uninformed and impressionable public opinion arena making ambiquous emotional statements.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

I agree with others, shame on you for such a comment of poor taste.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

Well Vada is deceased but was one of those police officers. Shame on you.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

Do you also think it's shameful that the city ordered maintenance to install large fans to vent the basement prior to calling in the Radon test company? I'm sure to you that's just whining though.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:22 p.m. obtained these emails, and they date back to 2008, before either officer died. So if you read this article, their concerns were expressed prior to those officers dying. Doesn't appear to me they had concerns in 2008 about their heath care, just their health. So I'd caution you to say they are using the death of a co-worker to enhance their contract negotiations.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

have they completed the incident and are they moving beyond it? case closed? let's ignore this and the next enviro question that comes our way?


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:31 a.m.

Combined with Heiftje/Fraser comments from the previous article, as well as Councilperson Rapalundo, this article seems to point to a 'willful' desire to be ignorant of the problem by City government. Certainly their actions to monitor known issues and provide meaningful mitigation is 'negligent.' Willful and negligent. Perhaps this should be in court.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

I really don't know much about that but, sadly, you are probably right. I do wonder if they told their insurance carrrier about the environmental issues when negotiating the cost. If not then the carrier may be a little annoyed. And no one had better have signed off on the disclosure who knew. (Fraser) Insurance comapnies have big legal staffs.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

Nope. There is over a century of property owner legislation working against building occupants and/or renters. This is the work of property owners interest groups (PAC's) and insurance companies.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.

Radon gas is easy to detect and measure. Radon-gas remediation is low-tech, common, and fairly inexpensive. Remediation efficacy monitoring is also low-tech, common, and inexpensive. Why did the city choose to not remedy this known problem? Why were city employees subjected to this condition? Unbelievable . . . : (

Bob Heinold

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

What's the problem? The officers could go to a Greenbelt area and breathe deeply and meditate on PC. What's the problem? Their bosses (superiors?) didn't have to work in those spaces. Only in A3, Ann+Arbor+Arrogance (contempt for the working class) could this happen. -Bob H-


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 10:36 a.m.

It's appalling that when high readings were found and not reduced via mitigation, that A2 officials didn't remove everyone immediately.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

Humans are replaceable, it's all about the benjamins. Removing everyone or doing anything would be an act acknowledging there was an issue or concern in the first place. Make no mistake this is exactly how lawyers and insurance companies deal with issues like this and the City was being advised throughout the entire process from day one. Until there is established case law like there is with asbestos and second hand smoke there will be no acknowledgement of any issue with radon, black mold, bacteria or any other indoor air quality concern.