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Higgins Asks Customs and Border Protection to Ensure Safe Training Conditions for Local Officers

Apr 8, 2019
Press Release
Request Comes Following Occurrences of Excessive Lead Exposure

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to examine the situation which led Western New York CBP officers to be exposed to high levels of lead at local training facility.  Higgins made the request after learning of health and safety concerns from officers working in the Buffalo-Niagara region. 

Higgins asks the CBP commissioner to investigate what led to the situation, determine to what degree employees might have been exposed, and ensure all current and future work sites meet health and environmental safety standards. 

The text of Congressman Higgins’ letter is below:

April 5, 2019

 

The Honorable Kevin K. McAleenan

Commissioner

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20229

 

Dear Commissioner McAleenan:

It has come to my attention that, for a period of years, a number of my constituents employed at CBP in the Western New York region may have been exposed to high lead levels at a range that the agency contracted with for purposes of training as part of the normal course of employment. I strongly urge the agency to look into this matter, determine the scale and degree to which employees may have been exposed to this contamination, and seek expedited processes to deal with and ameliorate the potentially hazardous results of the exposure. I further strongly recommend the agency find a suitable alternative location for future training and ensure that such alternative location meets standard protocols for health and environmental safety.

The officers that CBP employs in Western New York are dedicated to their service to the general public. I know that we have a shared interest to ensuring that these public servants are subjected to working conditions commensurate to their important responsibilities. It is imperative that your agency ensure that all sites of work, whether they be at CBP-owned and operated facilities, or those for which the agency sub-contracts, meet pertinent workplace safety standards. Any abrogation of those standards is unacceptable and has the result of degrading the value of this critical work.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely,

 

BRIAN HIGGINS

Member of Congress

 

Cc: Rose Brophy, Director, Field Operations