FIBERBOARD ASSOCIATES, a fiberboard association, is using asbestos in the construction of a new storage box for asbestos-containing products.
The building project, which is in the middle of a federal review, will take about a year, said the association’s executive director, Steve Siegel.
The association says it has no involvement in the building project.
In the meantime, the association has filed a lawsuit against the company building the storage boxes, the state and the city of Albuquerque, saying it violated the Clean Air Act and a city ordinance requiring asbestos-free construction.
The Albuquerque building has been in development for more than a decade, but the company that is building the boxes has been sued by the association multiple times.
The company says it’s taking steps to make the boxes safer.
The state Department of Health and Human Services has also filed a complaint against the builder, alleging that asbestos was used in the materials used to construct the boxes.
The asbestos complaint alleges that a subcontractor used asbestos and a sealer to hide asbestos in materials used in construction of the boxes, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Associated Press.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status for those who bought and/or leased the boxes between August 2016 and May 2019.
It asks for punitive damages, including attorney fees, and seeks to require the company to stop selling or otherwise selling the boxes for use in asbestos-related construction.
In February, the city released a report detailing the company’s use of asbestos and other hazardous materials in building projects, including the construction and operation of fiberboard boxes and storage boxes.
It said fiberboard has a low content of asbestos, and has been found to be safe for building purposes.
The city also said it has identified more than 150 fiberboard construction and storage projects that it has reviewed that have not met building code requirements.
A spokesman for the Albuquerque city attorney’s office said the company has provided written reports to the city about the boxes and the asbestos use.