Mesothelioma Attorneys by State > New York

New York Asbestos Attorney

New York City: The Origins of Asbestos and Today’s Mesothelioma Victims

Residents of New York City have experienced a unique history of industry, commercialism, shipbuilding, and even terrorism that has made them particularly vulnerable to asbestos and its deadly consequences. While considered by many to be the greatest city on Earth, it’s also possible that New York City is the actually the root of the asbestos industry in America.

The state of New York ranks 5th in the nation for deaths by asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Because of its many job sites, construction efforts, booming businesses, and the attacks of September 11th, New York City residents are particularly at risk for these deadly cancers.

The Beginnings of Asbestos

The New York company that later became widely known as Johns-Manville Corporation started mining asbestos and using it to produce roofing materials in 1858. It was one of the first companies to make and market asbestos-containing products, renowned for their fireproofing and insulation properties. The business eventually merged with an Ohio company that produced asbestos insulation to acquire its current famous name.

In the 1920s, Johns-Manville branched into the production of asbestos-based products for the U.S. military and its war efforts. At this time the Navy even required asbestos to be used in seagoing vessels due to its affordability and excellent resistance to heat and chemical damage. Eventually, Johns-Manville began producing fiberglass, PVC pipe, and asbestos-cement pipe as well.

By 1982, however, thousands of people had begun to develop asbestos-related illnesses, and many of them subsequently filed lawsuits against the company, leading Johns-Manville to file for bankruptcy. Six years later, post-bankruptcy, the company founded the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. The company has since been acquired by Berkshire Hathaway.

Today, due to the widespread use of their products and the huge number of workers they employed in close proximity to the deadly fiber, hundreds of thousands of people have filed suit against Johns-Manville. It’s even believed that even the founder, Henry Ward Johns, died of asbestosis.

Asbestos Exposure in New York

Over 400 sites of asbestos contamination have been confirmed across the state of New York, from public buildings like schools, churches, and courthouses, to high-risk job sites. With the growing industries of shipbuilding, oil refineries, chemical plants, and power generation stations, thousands of employees across the state had regular contact with asbestos during its heyday. Public housing units were built with asbestos, and the fibers have been found in sewage treatment plants, office buildings, and even restaurants.

Miners of naturally-occurring asbestos in New York (when it was still legal) also faced an extraordinarily high risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases.

Risky Jobs in New York City

New York City’s shipping industry produced jobsites that were notorious for asbestos exposure. Old shipyards, known for their asbestos-filled conditions, once existed within Manhattan, though now they’ve mostly relocated to Brooklyn or New Jersey. Brooklyn Navy Yard, Caddell Dry Dock, GMD Shipyard, the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, and the older (now decommissioned) New York Naval Shipyard produced asbestos-lined vessels and employed many local men who worked in daily contact with the toxic mineral.

And it wasn’t just the shipyards themselves that exposed workers to asbestos, but the foundries, power plants, boiler shops, and pipefitters that aided in the shipbuilding efforts.

Construction within New York City has been particularly afflicted with asbestos as well. Researchers have discovered the material in the city’s public schools, hotels, Fordham University, and even the United Nations Headquarters. Many older structures in New York City still contain asbestos today.

The massive power plants used to supply “The City that Never Sleeps” are also a prominent source of jobsite asbestos exposure. They rank at the top of the list when it comes to risk of inhalation and ingestion of the deadly fibers by workers. Due to its excellent insulation capabilities, asbestos was included in almost all of the piping, electrical, and gas fixtures used to construct power plants and energy companies. Con Edison, one of Manhattan’s top energy suppliers, was known to use asbestos-containing products.

9/11 Attacks and Asbestos

An exposure event unlike any other, the 9/11 attacks not only shook the nation, but the collapse of the Twin Towers released a huge amount of asbestos into the air around Manhattan. Experts believe that at least 4,000 tons of debris and dust resulted from the destruction of these buildings, potentially exposing residents and workers in the vicinity to the toxic fibers and making them more vulnerable to asbestos-related diseases years from now.

The World Trade Center was laden with insulation that contained the deadly mineral – records show that over 400 tons of asbestos was used in construction.

Tests at Ground Zero have confirmed asbestos was present. However, rescue workers, first responders, and firefighters continued to do their jobs during those initial days and weeks of the most dangerous conditions. Many Manhattanites likely breathed in this harmful dust as well. One known first responder has already passed away from mesothelioma.

Due to the long latency periods of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma – often between 20 and 50 years – it’s likely that New York City has not yet fully realized the impacts of 9/11. Free medical screening programs have been offered to those who were present at Ground Zero.

Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and Lung Cancer in New York

Over 2,400 New Yorkers died from mesothelioma and asbestosis between the years of 1999 and 2013. Recent reports expect the number of malignant mesothelioma cases in the United States will only increase through the year 2025.

The most deadly cancer in New York is still lung cancer, with over 13,500 cases diagnosed every year throughout the state. Though it’s difficult to tell which of these cases are caused by smoking and which resulted from asbestos, the CDC estimates that at least 4 to 12% of all lung cancers are caused by asbestos exposure.

Litigating Asbestos Related Disease Cases

New York is now one of the top states in the country for mesothelioma litigation. Of course, this is due in large part to the many years of occupational asbestos exposure at worksites across the state and the resultant high numbers of asbestos-related diseases among residents.

But New York also allows for an expedited trial schedule in the case of asbestos plaintiffs who may not have that much time left. It’s also one of the top places in the U.S. for treatment of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

New York statutes also contain the “two disease rule” which allows prior claimants in a lawsuit for a non-cancerous asbestos-related disease to later file a second suit if they’re eventually diagnosed with cancer linked to their exposure. This is especially helpful to victims due to the long latency periods of asbestos-related cancers.

In hopes of protecting future generations, state legislators have increased regulations to safeguard residents from asbestos exposure. It’s a small step in the right direction, and though it won’t curtail the impacts of New York’s flagrant history of asbestos use, it could shield today and tomorrow’s workers from its deadly effects.

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Mesothelioma treatment centers in the state of New York:

Mesothelioma is a fatal condition and it has no cure. It is also a very painful and costly disease to treat and early diagnosis is crucial for a good prognosis. Filing a lawsuit by contacting a New York mesothelioma attorney can contribute to the retribution of some percentage of the victim’s suffering and pain. The following mesothelioma treatment centers are located in the state of New York: