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Yonkers' Abreu Calls For Inspection Of Cooling Towers In County

Piedad Abreu
Piedad Abreu Photo Credit: Hispanic Democrats of Westchester Facebook

YONKERS, N.Y. -- County legisator candidate Piedad Abreu called on the Astorino administration to inspect for the Legionella bacteria. all county-owned facilities in Yonkers and around Westchester, as well as buildings that the county rents for various services and programs,

“Westchester residents and county employees deserve immediate action by appropriate County departments to ensure that the buildings in which they visit or work in are safe from Legionnaires’ disease,” said Abreu, a local business owner and community leader.

“Besides conducting inspections as quickly as possible," she said, "County officials should be entirely transparent in their findings and be open with the public as to where the bacteria has been found and what remedies are being undertaken to disinfect the facilities.”

Legionnaires’ disease, also known as legionellosis, is a type of pneumonia caused when a person inhales airborne water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria. At certain temperatures, the bacteria multiply rapidly and become more viable, threatening mostly the elderly and those with chronic respiratory problems or compromised immune systems. The source of the bacteria is traced usually to air conditioning systems, saunas and whirlpools. Abreu’s comments came a day after Yonkers officials announced that the Legionella bacteria had been discovered in the cooling tower of Riverside High School.

Earlier this summer, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx sickened 124 individuals and claimed the lives of a dozen, according a New York City government website. Abreu praised the quick action undertaken by Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to check for Legionella bacteria in other city-owned building with cooling towers, including the Grinton I. Will Library, Yonkers Middle High School and Saunders Trades and Technical High School.

“I expect County officials to take the detection of Legionella bacteria in Yonkers seriously and enact proactive measures to ensure that the county is free from the threat of an outbreak of Legionnaires ’ disease here," said Abreu.

Abreu also asked the Westchester County Department of Health to develop regulations for inspecting all cooling towers around the county, regardless of whether the buildings are publicly- or privately-owned.

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