This case involves a number of a prison inmates who were exposed to airborne particulates in high concentrations during renovations to the prison facilities. The prison administration contracted with a professional coating contractor to use a particular kind of poylmer coating to seal the walls, floors, and ceiling of the renovated rooms. The prison had a water intrusion problem, which the coating was meant to address. However, the coating process was unsuccessful, and the seal was not complete. As a result, the coating cracked and leaked, and the prison decided to strip it off with grinders. The inmates and employees describe weeks of almost constant exposure to the dust the grinding caused. Several of them eventually developed chronic respiratory issues, allegedly due to their exposure to the dust.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have extensive experience with the application of coating materials, their proper use, safety requirements, etc?
- 2. Are you familiar with the safety concerns that are important to any effort to grind the hardened material off the walls, ceiling, and floor?
Expert Witness Response E-009871
I have 40+ years experience in the formulation, application, surface preparation, failure analysis, and safety aspects of paint and coatings applied to various surfaces. My primary technical expertise is in coatings and corrosion. I also have in-depth knowledge of isocyanates (main ingredient in polyurethane paints), how to properly prepare the surface to apply them, and how to safely remove them. I am knowledgeable in how to safely grind hardened material/paint from surfaces. It sounds as if proper safety precautions were not taken to limit inmate’s exposure to the particulate, which can have detrimental long-term health effects.