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Asbestos Exposures at Proctor & Gamble, Staten Island, New York

At one time, the Proctor & Gamble plant in Staten Island was the borough’s largest employer. Sitting on over 125 acres of land, the plant operated in New York from 1907 to 1991. Over the course of 84 years, Proctor & Gamble’s product line expanded, with employees manufacturing numerous household products, including soaps, laundry detergents and various cleaning supplies. Between the 1940s and 1980s, Proctor & Gamble expanded its business in Staten Island, incorporating rail operations, water-pumping operations and construction of shipping materials for its products. At one point, the plant’s large smokestacks were upgraded, to keep up with increased manufacturing.

As Staten Island’s largest employer, the Proctor & Gamble plant required a large workforce at all times. With around-the-clock operations, employees were tasked with numerous responsibilities, including the operation of numerous pieces of high-heat equipment. The manufacturing of soap at Proctor & Gamble required the use of kettles and crucibles. Large assembly lines of employees and machines cut and stamped the soap. Other machinery moved raw product from one section of the plant to another. Testers analyzed finished products before they were approved for packaging. And other employees moved the product, with the aid of forklifts.

Similarly, the manufacturing of detergents and liquid cleaning supplies required specialized equipment. Large tanks, heating systems, and mixing stations reached dangerously high temperatures. Employees in these departments worked around tangles of piping, which carried heated chemicals and water to different departments. Conveyor systems moved liquids and packaging through the different assembly lines. Some equipment, which required manual clutching and breaking, helped direct the supplies to different areas of the plant.

Between the 1940s and 1980s, asbestos was heavily used at plants like Staten Island’s Proctor & Gamble facility. Pipe covering and block was applied throughout the plant on steam lines, as well as pipes that carried heated chemicals. Kettles and crucibles were insulated, and often, workers used asbestos gloves to touch the equipment. Machines with brakes and clutches contained asbestos linings and components, to handle the heat created by the product’s friction. Conveyor systems often contained gaskets due to the rubbing of jointed connections.

The employees who manufactured soaps and other cleaning products were regularly exposed to various asbestos materials used on the machines they operated for decades. Additionally, maintenance crews and electricians at the Proctor & Gamble plant frequently worked with and around asbestos-containing material. These facilities required steam to keep the plant running. Large boilers installed on the worksite were wrapped with asbestos to retain heat and prevent accidental burns. Supporting equipment, like the pumps that moved the water and chemicals needed for product manufacturing contained asbestos gaskets and packing. Other equipment, like valves, had asbestos packing that was frequently changed to prevent leaks.

The companies who manufactured the machines and components used at Proctor & Gamble’s Staten Island plant were aware of the dangers posed by exposure to airborne dust. At times, some of these companies would warn their own employees, and take internal precautions, while failing to provide warnings or caution labels on their products. Choosing profit over the health and safety of its customers, these companies created products that poisoned thousands of workers. The attorneys at LK have a proud history of standing up for the rights of injured workers who were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos.

If you or a loved one worked at the Proctor & Gamble plant in Staten Island, New York and have developed an asbestos-related disease, call today for a free consultation.

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