Mesothelioma is a terrible, painful and usually preventable cancer of the lining of the lungs and other organs. It is usually fatal. If you have worked or lived in New York state for years, it is possible in some situations that you could have been exposed to asbestos. Long term exposure to this deadly mineral can lead to major health problems, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. New York state has been the source of many mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuits for decades because of the high levels of asbestos used in some industries here.
According to New York state statistics, New York has an average rate of 1.2 mesothelioma cases per 100,000 people. Also, approximately 200 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in New York. (NY.gov). Further, it is estimated that from 1999 to 2015, approximately 2,354 New York residents died from the disease. New York also has an annual death rate from mesothelioma of 7.2 people per million, which is a bit below the national average. The highest death rates for mesothelioma in the state are in Western New York around industrial cities such as Buffalo.
How Common Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a very rare cancer, with only approximately 3,000 cases diagnosed per year. But it makes up for its relative rarity by being a very aggressive, painful cancer that is very hard to treat. The five year survival rate for mesothelioma is less than 10 percent. But people who are diagnosed early on and get treatment have a five year survival rate of 16%.
One of the biggest challenges with mesothelioma is that the fatal cancer spreads via the organ linings. It most often affects the lung lining, but also can spread to the stomach, heart and intestines. Tumors are hard to remove as they are widespread, and difficult to treat with radiation and chemotherapy.
The rates of mesothelioma in New York state are lower than they were decades ago. Most of the changes in mortality have been in men. This is probably because less asbestos is being used in jobs than decades ago. But we should remember that there is a very long latency period between exposure and diagnosis – sometimes 50 year. It is possible there could be more diagnoses in future years for those who were exposed to asbestos a few decades ago.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is not actually cancer of the lung. It is not caused by smoking. But a smoking habit can boost the chances of developing mesothelioma if you were exposed to asbestos. Many companies in New York often used products and materials that contained asbestos for years. They knew their products and materials were dangerous to their workers. Still, even with the grave health dangers of asbestos noted in many company documents, some New York state employers continued to risk their workers’ lives.
Asbestos is dangerous in many New York factories, power plants, mines and more because asbestos has tiny, sharp fibers that can easily get stuck in the lungs. Over time, the body works to get the fibers out, but if the exposure lasts long enough, the fibers may build up in the lungs. After they are in the body for decades, mesothelioma can develop. (Cancer.org).
Mesothelioma is very hard to treat and is incurable. Many New York state workers do not know they have it until the end stages. At that time, treatment mainly is just palliative with painkillers.
New York Sites of Asbestos Exposure
This is a very diverse state, and there are many industries that have exposed workers, visitors and residents to asbestos over the decades:
The industry itself was born in New York City. Henry Ward Johns, who founded the Johns-Manville Corporation, began to market materials that contained asbestos to be used in construction projects in the 1850s. Many of the best known buildings in Manhattan and throughout the state have had to have major asbestos abatement programs to rid them of the toxic menace that could sicken thousands of people per year.
In upstate New York near the Vermont border, there are some of the highest mesothelioma because of talc mining and related minerals. While there are some pure deposits of asbestos in New York, there also are some sources of asbestos that are mixed with other minerals, such as talc. The risk of exposure for miners was high for years.
New York City is a the most populated metro area in the US. Over the decades, many major construction projects have happened in New York City, and some of the buildings contained asbestos. One of the worst events was the terror attack in 9/11/01. There were high amounts of asbestos released into the air when the Twin Towers collapsed. This led to a higher than average number of respiratory disorders, including mesothelioma and asbestosis. These and other health problems were directly related to the use of asbestos by corporations such as W.R. Grace, Lord Construction Company and Asbestos Construction Company.
New York City has many industries, but at its core, it has been and always will be a major port city. There are many docks and shipyards that are used for construction and building and repair of ships, not to mention much import and export activities. Vital military installations such as the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard is in New York City, and these facilities often contained asbestos and exposed New Yorkers to serious health risks.
Other shipyards in the state that have exposed workers to asbestos over the years are:
- Bethlehem Steel Shipyard
- Caddell Dry Dock and Repair Company
- Todd Shipyards
New York is the home of the hydroelectric power generating facility at Niagara Falls, but it also has many other power plants that send huge amounts of electricity to New York City and other cities in New York. Some of the power stations that have exposed workers to asbestos are Arthur Kill Generating Station and Astoria Gas Generating Station on Staten Island. Others include Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens, and Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation in Syracuse.
New York State Mesothelioma Attorneys
If you worked in New York state and have developed an asbestos-related disease, it is recommended to talk to an experienced mesothelioma attorney. One of these legal professionals can review your case and see if you have legal options. Some of the mesothelioma attorneys in New York state to consider are:
Levy Kongisberg LLP
800 Third Ave., 11th Floor
New York NY 10022
For more over 30 years, these expert mesothelioma attorneys have been well known by clients and colleagues around the country as among the best in asbestos lawsuits. Several attorneys at this New York City law firm have obtained major settlements for New York state mesothelioma victims.
Lipsitz & Ponterio LLC
424 Main Street, Suite 1500
Buffalo NY 14202
These mesothelioma attorneys are highly committed to justice for people whose health has been ruined by asbestos exposure. They have shown a strong commitment to many kinds of toxic exposure cases, including asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, diesel emissions and other major occupational hazards.
Weitz & Luxenberg
New York NY 10003
Weitz & Luxenberg has more than 30 years of experience in asbestos litigation, and has handled 33,000 asbestos cases. The law firm takes on approximately 500 cases annually. It has an army of 500 mesothelioma and asbestos exposure attorneys ready to help you get the compensation you deserve for your illness.
- Mesothelioma Statistics New York State. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/cancer/registry/abouts/malignant_mesothelioma.htm
- General Mesothelioma Statistics New York State. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/chac/general/g78.htm
- What Causes Mesothelioma? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html