The Buenos Aires City government, through state firm and metro owner Subterráneos de Buenos Aires (Sbase), has filed suit against the Madrid Metro for the sale of train cars that allegedly contained asbestos, a substance associated with cancer, a source close to the matter told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.
“We’re requesting 14 million euros,” said the source, who requested anonymity.
The City subway provider's demand includes reparation payments because it alleges Madrid Metro offered the cars for resale despite knowing the potential health risks they posed for workers. The sale took place in 2011 after a long negotiation under the mayorship of Mauricio Macri, now the president of Argentina.
As a preventative measure, the cars were retired from service in February 2018, and an investigation followed, ordered by the decision of the state and the company Metrovías that handles subway operations.
Metro workers in Buenos Aires, who transport roughly 1.3 million passengers daily, have in recent years began legally denouncing the presence of asbestos in the cars and that have demanded through strikes and protests that the company stops using them.
In total, Madrid Metro sold 36 cars to Buenos Aires for around five million euros.
Asbestos, a material of microscopic fiberethat insulates against heat and fire, is prohibited has been prohibited in Argentina since 2001 due to its carcinogenic nature. In the same year, it was banned in Spain.
At least 11 employees of the Buenos Aires Metro have been diagnosed with pulmonary illness, according to union leaders, that were partially caused by contact with asbestos.