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Knicks forced to postpone game after asbestos scare

February 2nd, 2011

The New York Knicks were forced to postpone a game this week after an asbestos scare occurred in the team’s home venue Madison Square Garden. Officials at the venue chose to postpone a Knicks game against the Orlando Magic in November 2010 after debris fell into the area during maintenance and cleaning of “asbestos-related materials.” Garden officials have not yet announced a makeup date for the postponed game.

Madison Square Garden is the oldest profession basketball venue still in use by the National Basketball Association. When the stadium was built in 1968, one of the materials used in construction was asbestos, which was used as a fire-retardant.

Over subsequent decades, the use of asbestos in construction and other commercial applications declined drastically after it was linked to a deadly form of cancer, mesothelioma. Because of the long latency period for the disease, many workers and other individuals who suffered asbestos exposure decades ago are only now being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other cancers.

Garden officials state that the venue may remain closed for several days while they work with city inspectors and environmental advisory groups to determine that the stadium is safe to resume hosting sporting events and rock concerts. Preliminary testing has determined that asbestos particles were not disturbed in the cleaning incident.

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