Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in New Jersey
If you have worked and lived in New Jersey for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. As a service to people who live in New Jersey, we have compiled the following information about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state.
Below you will find recent statistics about asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in New Jersey. We have also included descriptions of the industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in New Jersey where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local New Jersey mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are listed and recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in New Jersey are also provided.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Statistics in New Jersey
From 1999-2015, approximately 1,739 New Jersey residents died from mesothelioma
- New Jersey has an annual mesothelioma death rate of 11.8 people per million, which is significantly above the national average (Source: CDC)
- 38 asbestos mines and natural deposits have been catalogued in New Jersey (Source: USGS)
- Somerset County in Northern New Jersey and Gloucester and Salem Counties in Southern New Jersey have the highest mortality rates in the state (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)
Asbestos Use Across New Jersey Industries
New Jersey has had a long industrial history, known particularly for its chemical and plastics trade, as well as the location for a number of East Coast shipyards.
The economy of New Jersey has long relied on the chemical industry, with major corporations like DuPont Chemical maintaining large laboratories and production facilities within the state. Because asbestos has strong resistance to chemical reactions, in addition to heat and electrical resistance, it has long been used in the production of many chemical products. In fact, the deadliest forms of asbestos (“brown” amosite and “blue” crocidolite) were used extensively for their resistance to caustic and corrosive substances in many chemical plants across the state. In addition to DuPont, other chemical companies known to have exposed their workers to asbestos include Toms River Chemical Corporation in Toms River, the Tennaco Chemical Company in Belleville, the Heyden Chemical Corporation in Princeton, and the Mutual Chemical Company of America in Jersey City.
Popular plastic brands like Bakelite and Boontonware were made in New Jersey starting in about 1930s, when plastics became more popular in the production of consumer products. Asbestos was sometimes used in early plastic products to reinforce the material and provide head resistance. Unfortunately, it also exposed workers and consumers to asbestos, making them vulnerable to developing mesothelioma later in life. Plastic manufacturers that used asbestos in New Jersey include Celanese Plastics in Belvidere, Union Plastics Corporation in Hillside, C.M. Plastics Moulding Company in Trenton, and Wheaton Plastics Company in Lakewood.
One of the primary events that led to the increased use of asbestos in marine vessels occurred off the coast of New Jersey, when a cruise ship fire broke out. Since then, shipyards all over the country used asbestos in the construction and repair of ocean-going ships, in attempt to prevent similar disasters in the future. New York Shipbuilding yards in Camden and Burlington and Todd Shipyard in Hoboken all exposed thousands of shipbuilders and dock workers to deadly asbestos over their decades of operation.
Given the preponderance of chemical and oil companies in the state, it may be no surprise that New Jersey is also home to a large number of oil refineries, given that these industries require a large amount of petroleum. Documented asbestos problems have been discovered at New Jersey sites run by many of the largest oil companies, including Halliburton, Hess Oil and Chemical, Mobile, Chevron, Esso (Standard Oil), Texaco, and Tosco.
To meet the power needs of the highly industrialized state, New Jersey also has a significant number of power plants and power stations throughout the state. These sites historically used large amounts of asbestos, due to its nature as an insulator against electricity and heat. Power plants known to have had asbestos exposure problems include New Jersey Power and Light Company in Dover, Jersey Central Power and Light Company, Perth Amboy Powerhouse, and Powerhouse Essex Station in Newark.
Because of the state’s high population density, New Jersey is also home to many construction companies and manufacturers of construction parts. One of the worst companies to expose workers, consumers, and residents was Johns-Manville Products Corporation – the first company to go bankrupt due to asbestos lawsuits – which was based in Manville, NJ. Other asbestos companies involved in construction and manufacturing include Repauno Construction in Gibbstown, National Gypsum Company in Garwood, and Vespi Construction in Atlantic City.
Asbestos Shipyards in New Jersey
Much of New Jersey is coastline, which makes it ideal for an abundance of shipyards and dry docks.
New York Shipbuilding (Camden and Burlington)
Despite its name, the New York Shipbuilding company began in Camden, NJ, in 1900. By World War I, it was the largest shipyard in the world, and it continued growing and contributed a significant number of ships to the naval war effort, employing tens of thousands of both men and women to build the military boats. After the war, the site became known for its construction of nuclear submarines, but eventually demand began to decline, and the shipyard shut down in the 1960s. Nonetheless, throughout its period of operation, the shipbuilding company used many tons of asbestos in its ships, exposing workers and sailors alike to the dangers of the deadly material.
Todd Shipyard (Hoboken)
Located on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, Tietjan and Lang Dry Dock Company officially became a part of the Todd Corporation in 1916, and remained part of the company until its closure in the 1960s. Like many U.S. shipyards, the height of construction for the Hoboken site occurred during World War II, where it built or repaired more than 8,000 ships as part of the war effort. The shipyard also took on a number of other construction projects in an attempt to remain solvent, including building gates for the Erie Canal and developing new types of trailer trucks to transport jet fuel. However, the site eventually lost its viability, and operations were moved across state borders to Brooklyn in September 1965.
Asbestos Exposure in New Jersey Cities
Asbestos exposure on the job is known to have occurred in the following New Jersey cities. Prolonged asbestos exposure can cause the terminal cancer mesothelioma as well as other asbestos-related diseases. Click on any city below to view a complete list of commercial, military and residential job sites where asbestos exposure occurred in that city.
Asbestos Risks at Smaller New Jersey Job Sites
Asbestos exposure is also a problem if you look beyond the major cities and towns in New Jersey. Select a town to see the list of its job sites where asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos exposure at any one of the work sites revealed could put a worker at risk to develop mesothelioma cancer.
Asbestos-Related News in New Jersey
In September, Duro Dyne National Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid rising asbestos claims. Now the company is facing pressure from the Department of Justice because of who the company appointed to handle its future asbestos trust fund claims.
Johnson & Johnson faced its first guilty verdict in an asbestos talcum powder lawsuit last week. After the court reconvened this week, the manufacturing giant and an arm of Imerys, its talc supplier, now owe a $117 million verdict, with $37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
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Cabrera-Santiago, Manuel et al. “Prevalence of Asbestos-Related Disease Among Electrical Power Generation Workers in Puerto Rico.” Presentation at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, 2007.
Evans, David and Greg Johnstone. “Asbestos Use Companies and Locations in New Jersey.” All About Malignant Mesothelioma (September 2005.)
Geological Research, Analyses and Services Programs. "Naturally Occurring Asbestos Locations in the Contiguous U.S. and Alaska." Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 25 May 2007.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/noa/usamap.pdf (accessed 23 August 2010).
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