Large sections of the Traffic Courthouse in Kearny Mesa have been sealed off for weeks with signs warning of asbestos, but the state court system said there’s no danger.
“It turns out there was no asbestos exposure,” said Peter Allen, a spokesperson for the Judicial Council of California, which owns and oversees local court facilities.
“Workers are actually responding to roof leaks at three locations within the old Traffic Court building. However, since the building does contain asbestos, and to ensure the health and safety of all the building occupants, and clean-up of the affected area, it has to be sealed off,” Allen said.
However, multiple people who frequent or work at the courthouse reached out to NBC 7, saying they were nervous and there was little explanation of the risk.
White tents now cover much of the eastern side of the courthouse; however, there were no warning signs or notices of the contamination at the main entrance.
Upon entering the court and then around a corner, an NBC 7 reporter saw two signs that read “DANGER ASBESTOS” -- far out of sight for people entering the building.
“I think it’s rational for people to have this fear that there is something going on because if you walk into the courthouse, you see these tents, you see the cardboard on the floor, you see all these signs that point to something being done, but you’re not sure exactly what,” said Amit Gundara, a traffic court attorney with the firm Mr. Ticket.
Cal/OSHA in December performed an asbestos-related complaint inspection of the court and no citations were issued.
Gundara has worked at this courthouse for almost a decade and said the tents have been up for a month. But Gundara said the warning signs were posted this week.
“For the public to go into this kind of condition, I just feel that there should be some transparency,” Gundara said.
“There is no risk of exposure outside of the containment areas. Environmental testing has been conducted and, to date, all air sample results have met the EPA’s clearance criteria,” Allen said. “The health and safety of all building occupants is our primary concern. We continue to monitor the work being performed to ensure all environmental regulations are strictly adhered to."