Asbestos Exposure in New Jersey
Christopher M. Placitella
May 3, 2023
Asbestos is one of six naturally occurring minerals that have heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant properties. These minerals have been used in manufacturing and industrial areas such as construction sites and shipyards. Asbestos has been used in automobile brake pads, and as fire and soundproofing insulation. However, asbestos is dangerous for humans and, if inhaled, could lead to a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma.
In New Jersey, asbestos has been regularly used in various building supplies and other materials. Therefore, in New Jersey, mesothelioma is a real hazard for New Jersey residents. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you’ll want to speak with a New Jersey mesothelioma lawyer right away to learn what legal action you can take.
History of Asbestos Use in New Jersey
Asbestos is a common fiber found in rocks and various other materials used for constructing buildings, ships, vehicles, and other commercial products. New Jersey also has large natural deposits of asbestos, thus making the risk for asbestos exposure much higher.
A Timeline of Asbestos in New Jersey
Since the 1940s, asbestos was commonly used in various building materials such as pipe insulation, spray-on fire proofing and floor and ceiling tiles. New Jersey, located conveniently near New York and Philadelphia, has a history of being heavily involved in industrialization, trade, and commerce, and because of its sound and fireproofing qualities, many buildings in those industries made use of asbestos.
Concern about asbestos in schools and cases of asbestos-related illnesses and cancer led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a partial ban on asbestos-containing products in 1989. In one of the strictest asbestos laws implemented in the United States, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy signed Bill A4416 into law in 2019, outlawing the sale and distribution of asbestos-containing products in the state.
Asbestos in New Jersey Schools
Many of the schools built between the 1940s and 1980s contain asbestos in insulation, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and other pieces of their makeup. Cancer and mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure usually take between twenty and fifty years to manifest symptoms, but in children this timeline can be shorter.
In 2009, the EPA established the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act in response to concerns about asbestos in schools. This act regulates the processes for managing asbestos materials in schools, performing regular inspections to reduce or remove asbestos fiber as necessary, and informing parents and students of potential asbestos hazards in schools.
While this act does not completely eliminate the possibility of exposure to asbestos, it does ensure that parents, school staff, and students are aware of potential asbestos hazards and can take appropriate precautions. Many asbestos products in schools are non-friable, which means they can’t be broken, crumbled thereby releasing asbestos fibers into the air. Because non-friable asbestos is usually encapsulated it is far less dangerous than friable asbestos.
Asbestos Exposure in New Jersey Today
While the sale and distribution of asbestos-containing products is now banned in New Jersey, there are still many asbestos-containing products already built into schools and other buildings in the state. In addition, New Jersey is a site for naturally occurring asbestos. How can you protect yourself from asbestos exposure today, and what do you do if you’ve been exposed in the past?
Asbestos Sites in New Jersey
There are still a few sites in New Jersey where asbestos may be found. Some of these sites have been working on abating the presence of asbestos, but eliminating asbestos is challenging, especially when it’s already built into materials or buildings. Asbestos insulation is often found as a component of old boilers or electric panels. It can be found in brake pads of cars or insulating jet engines.
The National Gypsum Company, which opened a cement plant in Millington, New Jersey, in 1954, used asbestos to create cement products until it went bankrupt over asbestos-related illness lawsuits in 1980. The plant deposited asbestos-containing waste in local Millington asbestos dumps, contaminating these areas. While the issue was addressed in the 1990s, there may still be contamination in areas of Millington.
The Johns Manville Products Corporation, which opened an insulation plant in central New Jersey, used asbestos-containing products for years, even though the leadership likely knew of asbestos-related cancer as early as the 1930s. In the 1980s, the Johns Manville Corporation went bankrupt attempting to deal with personal injury lawsuits from injured former employees. The site of the plant and waste facilities may still be sites of asbestos contamination.
Several W. R. Grace and Company Zonolite facilities in New Jersey processed asbestos-containing vermiculite for years. While asbestos products are no longer allowed in New Jersey, there may still be vermiculite products in some types of soil in the area.
New Jersey employs asbestos workers whose goal it is to abate asbestos wherever it is found. However, while these workers are doing their best, they may not be able to remove all asbestos from an area before residents are exposed.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos-related cancer and other illnesses often don’t manifest symptoms for decades after exposure. If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos fibers in youth, you may only now have discovered why you’re sick. If you live in New Jersey, you may still be subject to some asbestos exposure and open to potential illness in the future.
New Jersey and New York are both states with high asbestos levels, and lawsuits in both states have successfully helped victims of asbestos exposure recover compensation from the companies who exposed them. If you’re a victim of asbestos exposure, you can file a lawsuit against the company that exposed you and seek compensation for the suffering and financial expense your diagnosis has caused.
Determining Whether You Were Exposed to Asbestos in New Jersey
Because asbestos illnesses like mesothelioma occur so long after exposure, it can be challenging to prove where and how you were exposed to the illness-causing asbestos fibers. That’s why talking to a New Jersey mesothelioma lawyer if you suspect asbestos exposure is crucial to building a successful lawsuit. We have a tremendous library of evidence regarding the presence of asbestos in different work sites and have experience in investigating workplace and other exposures to asbestos.
Areas of Asbestos Exposure
The most common asbestos exposure that leads to illness or cancer is construction sites where old, asbestos-containing materials are torn down or disposed of during renovations. Asbestos abatement contractors and officials oversee occupational safety for workers who clean up construction sites or help tear down and renovate old buildings. However, CPR has a wealth of evidence regarding the presence of asbestos in industrial locations and products where, or with which, you may have worked.
How to Know If You Were Exposed to Asbestos in New Jersey
If you have been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. You may have been exposed to an asbestos hazard if you have worked in construction or with products that may contain asbestos. If you suspect you have been exposed to asbestos, but you aren’t sure, you should seek an asbestos inspector in New Jersey to see if they can test your home, workplace, or whatever area you suspect may contain asbestos fibers.
It’s important to note that a single exposure is unlikely to cause illness, although it is possible. More likely, you will only contract illness if you were exposed to asbestos for a sustained period. However, even one exposure carries some danger, so you should get checked by a doctor if you have any pulmonary complaints or suspect you have had an asbestos exposure.
What to Do After Asbestos Exposure
When you determine that you have indeed been exposed to asbestos, you should seek medical advice right away. Find a doctor in New Jersey who specializes in mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused illnesses such as asbestosis. Your doctor will perform a chest X-ray and other tests to determine how much exposure your lungs have suffered and what kind of treatment you need.
After speaking with your doctor, you will want to seek out a mesothelioma lawyer in New Jersey. A lawyer can help determine if you have a case against the company that exposed you to asbestos. They can also help you build a lawsuit to seek compensation for yourself or for your family.
Asbestos Litigation in New Jersey
If you contracted lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, or a related illness due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to pursue legal action against the company that exposed you. You have the right to seek compensation for medical expenses, loss of health and life enjoyment, financial losses, and even loss of life caused by asbestos exposure.
Sometimes, it is difficult to determine where you were exposed to asbestos. If you worked at Johns Manville, Union Carbide, or other well known asbestos-producing plants, you can easily prove that you were exposed. However, if you simply worked in construction or lived in a home containing asbestos, proving exposure will prove more challenging. Having represented many victims of asbestos exposure CPR has an extensive library of evidence about where asbestos has been found and has the means and wherewithal to investigate your potential exposure.
It’s crucial that you speak with a New Jersey mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after you receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma, lung cancer, or any other illness caused by asbestos. Our team of lawyers has earned a distinguished reputation for achieving life-changing outcomes by combining decades of experience, tenacity, and fresh strategic perspectives to each case we undertake. For help resolving your asbestos-related case, contact us online or call (888) 560-7189 to get in touch with one of our lawyers.