Asbestos in New York – Exposure History and Sites

Posted on Friday, March 3rd, 2023 at 10:45 am    

Known for historical contributions for centuries now, the state of New York can add
another, albeit less celebratory, claim to fame. One of the first companies to use the fire-resistant,
cost effective, and high performing insulating material known as asbestos was founded right in
New York City in the mid 1800s. While the industry became highly successful initially, the
dangers of the naturally occurring yet toxic fibers were concealed from public knowledge. As
construction companies, shipyards, manufacturers, and more used the products for the effective
qualities, they did so unaware of the dangers posed by asbestos exposure.

Prior to the 1950s, the shipyards of New York used literal tons of asbestos to insulate and
fireproof Navy vessels during World War II. Additionally merchant marine ships and locomotive
transportation also found themselves relying heavily on asbestos-laden materials including
lagging, gaskets, boilers, and engines on the ships as well as brake pads, brake linings, grinders,
and more in the railyards.

Factories and infrastructure facilities also found asbestos products work their way into
their buildings with roof shingles, floor tiles, and the sealants and adhesives that held them in
place. Major transit areas including Grand Central Station have been found to have crumbling
asbestos insulation on site, and powerhouses built by Edison General Electric Company, known
now as General Electric, relied heavily on asbestos-containing insulation for wire coatings and
interior insulation.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in 2001 and the subsequent
collapse of the buildings, a large dust cloud covered multiple Manhattan blocks. This cloud of
debris contained heavy metals and asbestos fibers along with other toxins that hundreds of
thousands of people were ultimately exposed to. Civilians and rescue workers alike have
developed a variety of health problems including cancers like lung cancer and mesothelioma
along with “World Trade Center cough” all due to this exposure.

While this is not a complete list of all the sites with known asbestos, a breakdown of job
sites with confirmed asbestos exposure is provided below for additional insight:

– Albany Airport
– Albany Felt Company
– Empire State Plaza
– General Electric
– N.Y.S. Tunnel Project
– New York Power & Light
– Port of Albany
– St. Peters Hospital
– Socony-Vacuum Oil Company
– VA Hospital

– Amsterdam City Hospital
– Mohawk Carpet Mills Inc. – McCleary Division

– Indian Point Energy Center
– Consolidated Edison Company of New York

– American Standard a.k.a. Ingersoll Rand
– Bethlehem Steel
– Dunlop Tire and Rubber a.k.a. Sumitomo Rubber
– General Motors
– Spaulding Fibre
– Astoria Powerhouse
– Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation
– Brooklyn Union Gas Company
– Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co.
– Charles Poletti Power Project
– Consolidated Edison Company
– GMD Shipyard Corporation
– Kentile Floors
– Todd Shipyards Corporation Corning
– Corning Glass Works
– Dresser-Rand
– New York Electric & Gas Company
– Corning Gas and Electric Company

– Erie R.R. Company Grade Crossing
– Edicott Johnson Realty Company

Glens Falls:
– Finch, Pruyn and Company
– International Paper Company
– Knolls Atomic Power Lab

– Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation

– Alcoa Aluminum
– Pittsburgh Reduction Company
– Defense Plant Corporation
– Central Foundry

Niagara Falls:
– Carborundum Company
– Niacet Corporation
– Niagara Electrochemical Company
– Occidental Chemical Corporation
– Union Carbide Company
– Bell Aerospace
– Bell Aircraft Corporation
– Kimberly-Clark Corporation
– Mount St. Mary’s Hospital
– National Biscuit Company
– Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co.

– Agway, Inc.
– American Cyanamid Company
– Dresser-Rand
– Palmyra
– Garlock Sealing Technologies
– Olean Electric Light and Power Company
– United Wood Alcohol Company

– Diamond National Corp
– Georgia Pacific Corporation
– Plattsburgh Air Force Base
– Plattsburgh Hospital
– Vanity Fair Paper Mills, Inc.

– 3M Building
– American Tobacco, W.S. Kimball Branch
– Bausch & Lomb, Inc.
– Beechnut Life Savers, Inc.
– Delco Products, Inc.
– Eastman Kodak Company
– Kodak Hawkeye Plant
– St. Joe Paper Company
– SUNY Brockport Dormitories and Student Union
– Xerox Corporation

– Army Corps Steam Plant
– Griffis Air Force Base
– New York State School for the Deaf
– New York Telephone Company
– Revere Copper Products, Inc.

– American Locomotive Company (ALCO)
– Atomic Knolls Power Lab
– Ellis Hospital
– General Electric
– Mohawk Gas Company
– Schenectady Chemical
– Union College

– Bendix Corporation (Honeywell)
– Fitzgerald Brothers Brewing Company
– Freihofer Baking Company
– Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
– Trojan Car Coupler Company
– United Shirt and Collar Company

– Fort Drum Army Base
– Knowlton Specialty Papers, Inc.
– New York Air Brake
– Remington Paper Company

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