Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a variety of industries for its unique properties. Composed of long, thin fibers resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals, asbestos was once considered an ideal material for insulation, fireproofing, and other applications. Despite its risk of serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, New Jersey has long used asbestos in many of its industries.
Industrialism in the Garden State
New Jersey's history is deeply entwined with the rise of industrialism in the United States. The state's location, midway between New York City and Philadelphia, made it a natural hub for trade and transportation. In the early 19th century, New Jersey's waterways were bustling with trade and commerce, and its ports were some of the busiest in the country. This economic activity led to a boom in population and a wave of immigration, which in turn fueled the state's industrial growth. This industrial progress, however, can give some credit to the use of asbestos.
Use of Asbestos
Because of its resistant qualities, asbestos has been used in various industries in New Jersey's history. Despite its serious health-related effects, asbestos appeared in the following industries:
- Chemical Industry - Used due to its resistance to caustic and corrosive products.
- Plastics Industry - Used to reinforce plastic and offer heat resistance.
- Shipyards - Used in ship construction and repair to prevent fire outbreaks.
- Construction - Used in the manufacturing of insulation.
- Power Plants - Used as an insulator against heat and electricity.
- Oil Refineries - Used in petroleum-burning equipment and protective gear.
New Jersey Asbestos Legislation
In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed bill A4416, which prohibits selling and distributing asbestos-related products. It also allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct business audits to ensure proper asbestos protocols are being followed. Furthermore, The Department of Labor and Workforce Development oversees employee training, worksite signage and licensing and permitting under the Asbestos Control and Licensing Act.
Notable Federal Legislation
In the 1970s, as the serious health risks became more apparent, the federal government began establishing rules and regulations, primarily overseen by the EPA, to limit asbestos exposure.
- Clean Air Act - While the act was passed in 1963, this was placed under the EPA's responsibility upon the agency’s creation in 1970. Asbestos is listed as a dangerous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act, which intends to reduce air pollution nationwide.
- Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) - Passed in 1976, the TSCA provides standards and procedures for chemical production.
- James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act - In 2011, this act was passed to provide more optimal healthcare to first responders of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
New Jersey Mesothelioma Attorneys
For almost 40 years, Levy Konigsberg has been fighting for the rights of asbestos exposure victims. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers have represented thousands of clients and recovered billions of dollars in compensation. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that mesothelioma can take on victims and their families, and we are committed to getting our clients the maximum compensation they deserve.
To schedule your free initial consultation, call us today at (800) 315-3806 or fill out our form online.