Resources for Patients and their Families

Queens, New York

Queens is one of the five boroughs of New York City, New York, and is coextensive with Queens County, the westernmost of the four counties which make up Long Island. Queens has a population of approximately 2.3 million people, and includes both urban industrialized areas and suburban residential neighborhoods. Two major airports, LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport are located here, as well as Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs.

Although much of the area was rural and agricultural through the early 19th century, the establishment of railroads, streetcars and subway service towards the turn of the century caused a manufacturing and population boom, with areas such as Flushing, Astoria and Long Island City becoming heavily industrialized. Many Queens neighborhoods retain distinct ethnic and cultural identities established during that time. Iconic products manufactured in Queens include Steinway & Sons pianos, Chiclets gum and Swingline staplers. In 1943, Idlewild Airport was constructed on the grounds of a former golf course, and was renamed in honor of slain President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The airport is notable for receiving regular flights of both the Concorde and the massive Airbus A380 passenger planes. Another local institution, the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, was founded in 1912 as the Farm Colony of Brooklyn State Hospital. By the late 1950s, the institution housed some 7,000 patients. Today, parts of the campus have been sold and several of the remaining buildings are disused. Queens today encompasses a wide mix of economic activity, including tourism, manufacturing, finance and the entertainment industry, as well as residential and recreational areas.

Queens's ongoing history of industry, construction and renovation place it in a high risk category for asbestos exposure. Workers exposed to asbestos are at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. If you were exposed to asbestos in Queens and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should also consider contacting a mesothelioma law firm.

Asbestos Exposure at Jobsites in Queens

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance has compiled information obtained from a number of sources to identify the following jobsites in Queens where asbestos exposure was known to have occurred. These sites are listed below.

  • American Airline Passenger Terminal Building
  • Astoria Powerhouse
  • Beach Channel Drive High School
  • Brian Piccolo High School
  • Central Repair Shop & Garage
  • Charles Poletti Power Project
  • Con Edison, Inc.
  • Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
  • Creedmoor State Hospital
  • Exxon - Inip Drive
  • Fresh Meadows Housing Project
  • Helmsley Spear, Inc.
  • Idlewild Airport
  • Inteborough Rapid Transit Company
  • Jamaica Water Supply
  • John F Kennedy International Airport
  • Laguardia Airport
  • LeFrak City
  • Malmed Realty Corporation
  • Meadowbrook Hospital
  • Mobil Oil
  • Neponset Nursing Home
  • New York Bell
  • New York Housing Authority
  • Peninsula General Hospital
  • Phelps Dodge Copper Plant
  • Public Housing Administration
  • Queens Family Court
  • Ravenswood Powerhouse
  • Saint John's Hospital
  • Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • St. John's University
  • St. Matthias Church
  • Stella Morris Catholic School
  • Waterside Powerhouse


Two of the world's largest airports are within the borough of Queens. Much as Ellis Island was the first U.S. soil that many immigrants passed through, the airports of Queens represent the first U.S. soil that many first-time visitors to the country encounter. John F. Kennedy International Airport as well as LaGuardia International Airport are important parts of the Queens economy. The first airport in Queens was LaGuardia, which was named after former New York mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia. Opening to the public air traffic in 1939, LaGuardia is said to be named after the former mayor because of a famous lamentation of the long commute to the city from the Newark airport. JFK International opened its doors in Southeastern Queens in 1963.

Airports represent an important building block of the Queens economy, and employ many of its residents. Regrettably, airports are also one of the primary sites of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is most likely to be encountered in older fixtures, including those on aircraft. Within airport hangers, asbestos could often be found in piping and electrical fixtures, both within the facilities and onboard aircraft. Asbestos was used in these areas because it was remarkably resistant to heat or cold and had insulation qualities desirable for aircraft construction and maintenance. Those who repaired older planes or commonly worked on plumbing, electrical, or other older fixtures are likely those to be most at risk of asbestos exposure.


Manufacturing was the driving force behind many early urban economies and that of Queens was no exception. Many early immigrant residents within the borough found their piece of the American dream realized in the factories and other manufacturing centers of Queens. However, manufacturing in recent years, seems to have taken a back seat to other industries in Queens to other emerging industries. Many of the factories have been demolished or converted into residences. At the apex of Queens manufacturing however, these factories were a driving force in the development of the greater New York City metropolitan area. Notable industry still remaining in Queens includes the budget airline, JetBlue and the Bulova watchmakers.

Worker protection was of little concern as the Queens manufacturing economy was booming at the turn of the century and thereafter. Cramped and poorly ventilated warehouses were simply a way of life for many immigrants and other Americans who were trying to feed their families. Worker's rights became an issue on some occasions through unions and management, but compromises between the two usually involved minimal concessions by owners. One of the more common workplace hazards was the exposure to harmful toxins. One of which was asbestos. Unfortunately, many workers may have been exposed to asbestos and not even known about it because the dangers of asbestos exposure were not completely clear until approximately 1980. Asbestos was used in nearly all aspects of industry that required insulation materials. Needless to say, it was used extensively. Those that worked with or around these materials may be at risk for developing asbestos exposure related illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma.


Schools in Queens are an important part of the American fabric that many immigrant populations sought when coming to this country. They are important institutions not only in Queens but across American that define our values. For many immigrant populations, Queen's schools represent a future for their children that they may not have been otherwise afforded.

However, schools are not exempt from risk of asbestos exposure. Many of Queens' schools are older buildings with antiquated fixtures. Older fixtures of plumbing or electrical structures may be insulated with asbestos-containing materials, endangering those who encounter these fixtures. Incidents involving asbestos in Queens' schools have caused major disruptions and even delayed the beginning of the school year in the past. Those school employees who encounter these types of fixtures frequently may be at risk for the development of asbestos related illness. This may include custodial and administrative staff, as well as educators.

Power Plants

Power plants were an essential aspect of urban life. More than a million Queens residents rely upon these power plants to deliver essential power to their homes. Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) is the largest power provider in Queens and is the primary supplier to Queens' grid, as well as most of the New York City area.

Power plants and their related infrastructure are unfortunately one of the primary targets for asbestos use. Recent incidents in Manhattan and other boroughs, along with the power outage in the summer of 2006 have called to question the ability of the Con Edison grid to uphold the demands of the Queens area safely. Asbestos has been used commonly in the grid's fixtures and other infrastructure. Workers who service these areas may be at risk for harmful asbestos exposures and consequently for developing mesothelioma cancer, a serious form of respiratory cancer.

Filing an Asbestos Lawsuit in Queens, New York

Don’t lose your rights! If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and were exposed to asbestos in New York, you may be entitled to compensation. You may have limited time to file a claim. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have a pathology report in hand to support that diagnosis, you are eligible for financial assistance.

Asbestos Related News in New York

Mesothelioma Cases Expected to Increase Through 2025

A new report shows the number of malignant mesothelioma cases is expected to rise through at least 2025. Read more at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Beech-Nut Refuses to Pay for Asbestos Clean Up at Former Plant

Beech-Nut says it will not pay for the multimillion-dollar asbestos clean up at its former plant near Albany, New York, despite a federal order. Read more at

Asbestos Exposure Across the U.S.

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