Officials Investigate Asbestos and Lead Tests

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency, the New York City Department of Investigation, the federal Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General and the Manhattan United States attorney's office are investigating New York City's asbestos and lead risk assessment process.

The New York Times reports that the officials began investigating the process after one of the city's safety inspectors, Saviero Todaro, filed hundreds of reports saying he had run asbestos and lead risk tests in New York City buildings and construction sites and had found no danger. But Todaro testified in federal court last month that he hadn't run any of the tests he reported he had.

Todaro's inspections spanned a decade. The Department of Justice has set up a Web site with details of the case due to the large number of people who may have been affected. “Todaro’s guilty plea is not the end of the story,” Manhattan United States Attorney Preet Bharara told The Times. “This investigation is very much ongoing.”

There's no evidence yet that asbestos or lead risk test fraud is widespread in New York City. But Mayor Mike Bloomberg's office told The Times that the process can always be improved. “D.E.P. is going to start increasing audits, which is the right step to ensure inspections are being completed properly,” a spokesman from Mayor Bloomberg's office said.

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