Being a highly industrialized state, asbestos use also was extremely high in New Jersey. During the 19th century industrial revolution, factories and other industrial facilities replaced farms and became the main employers in the state. All those facilities used massive quantities of asbestos because of its ability to prevent corrosion and to resist fire and heat.
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New Jersey Asbestos History
Large scale asbestos use by heavy industries in New Jersey started mainly in the 1930s and 40s and continued until the 1970s. The use of asbestos gradually decreased after the United States Environmental Protection Agency started regulating the cancer-causing mineral in the 1980s. But many people, who suffered extensive exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products until the 1980s have already developed mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. As mesothelioma takes several decades to manifest following the asbestos exposure, many former workers are still at the risk of developing the fatal cancer.
Though the EPA has been regulating asbestos since the 1980s, its use has not been fully prohibited in the U.S. Although the use of asbestos has become limited, the dangerous mineral is still present in numerous old structures in the U.S. Many such buildings are there in New Jersey as well. These buildings include hospitals, schools, homes, and military bases.
According to a 2004 report on mesothelioma deaths in the U.S., New Jersey ranks sixth. More than 1700 New Jersey individuals died from mesothelioma between 1979 and 2001. Additionally, approximately 1783 people died from asbestosis during this period.
New Jersey’s industrial workers suffered heavy asbestos exposure until the 1980s. Initial asbestos lawsuits were filed in the 1920s. However, the entire industry denied any link between exposure to asbestos and health conditions including mesothelioma and asbestosis. Corporates including Johns Manville purposefully concealed medical data linking asbestos exposure to severe health conditions including cancer for almost 50 years.
Though the EPA started reporting the hazards of asbestos in the 1970s, Johns Manville argued any such data hadn’t been released before 1964. But the company possessed data about the hazards associated with the mineral as early as the 1930s. Despite this knowledge, it continued production of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) for several decades.
Johns Manville had a big manufacturing plant in Manville, a Somerset County town. Though the plant is now closed, workers were exposed regularly to asbestos while it was functional. In 1982, the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of numerous suits and class action lawsuits filed in states including New Jersey.
Other New Jersey Companies with Asbestos Problems
Apart from Johns Manville, several other companies in New Jersey are known for asbestos problems. These companies include:
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
American Cyanamid Chemical
Central Region HS
Berkeley Heights Elementary
St. Catherine of Siena
Cherry Hill HS
New Milford HS
New Jersey Training School
Edinboro State Teachers College
Cooper Medical Center
John F. Kennedy
NJ State Hospitals (Ancora and Avenel)
Allied Chemical Corporation
American Standard Incorporated
American Stores Co
Atlantic City Electric Company
Atlantic City Convention Hall
Arc Mercer Incorporated
Bridgeton Condensed Milk Co
Cadillac Dog Food Co
Camden County Courthouse and Jail
Charles S. Woods Co
E.I. Du Pont De Nemours Powder Co
Federal Telephone and Radio Corp
Forstmann & Huffman Co
Fritzsche Brothers Incorporated
Fuchs Lang Manufacturing Co
Fucho & Lang Manufacturing Co
Haddon Hall Hotel
Hercules Powder Company
Hungerford Electric Manufacturing Co
International Nickel Co
John Sykes Company
Monsanto Chemical Company
NJ State Reformatory for Women
Owens Corning Fiberglass
Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines
P.S. Sewaren Generating Station
Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) Generating Station
Samuel Miller Center
Stewart Hartshorn Co
Unimatic Manufacturing Co
Union Carbide Building
U.S. Pipe & Foundry
United Gas Improvement Co
Wecoline Products Co
Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock
Naval Weapons Station Earle