New Hampshire (NH) Asbestos Information:
Unlike the other New England states, New Hampshire has no naturally-occurring asbestos. However, there are many jobsites and other locations where workers were exposed to different kinds of asbestos in a wide variety of industries and institutions, leading to diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. There are well over fifty different locations in which asbestos was used, and these sites include paper and pulp mills, power plants, oil refineries, chemical companies, a number of military (Air Force and Navy) bases, and other manufacturing industries.
Surprisingly, this list also mentions several educational institutions, a prominent maker of inexpensive sunglasses and two banks. The presence of asbestos in locations such as these can be explained by the common use of building products prior to 1980 in which asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used heavily.
Henry Johns’ Great Invention
Henry Johns was still a young man just prior to the U.S. Civil War when he began experimenting with the use of asbestos in the manufacture of products such as fireproof shingles and wallboard.
Forty years later, asbestos products had made Johns a wealthy man – but all his wealth could not save him from the product from which his fortune came. Johns died of asbestosis in 1898, aged 60.
It was about this time that medical researchers were beginning to make the connection between asbestos and respiratory disease. By then, however, asbestos building materials were being installed in almost every new building in the East. Eventually, this came to include a new type of insulation called Zonolite®, made from an asbestos-contaminated material called vermiculite, and heat-resistant pipe insulation that could be sprayed onto the surface where it would harden, as well as floor and ceiling tiles. Asbestos was the miracle mineral that made buildings safe and fireproof.
The problem is that as these materials age and deteriorate, they start to become “friable” – a crumbling stage in which such materials begin to release asbestos fibers into the air, where they are inhaled.
This is what has happened in many of New Hampshire’s schools and other public buildings.
Shipyard and power plant workers are among those industrial employees who are most likely to be affected by asbestos exposure.
Following a tragic cruise ship fire off the New Jersey coast in September 1934, shipbuilders began using asbestos insulation almost everywhere on sea-going vessels. Naval veterans are among those that are most likely to have respiratory illnesses for this very reason. Those who worked at the Portsmouth Navy Yard prior to 1980 may be at risk for such disease.
Petroleum is a volatile substance that can catch fire, and is highly toxic to boot. It is for these reasons that asbestos-containing products were used as insulation in such facilities. However, like all asbestos building materials, these become friable as they deteriorate over time.
Those who are employed by power generating facilities–particularly electricians, pipefitters, boilermakers and other repair and maintenance personnel–are among those industrial workers at greatest risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, according to the Center for Health; mesothelioma victims make up over three percent of the workers who die of work-related causes in the course of their employment at places such as the Coastal Oil Refinery.
This also applies to natural gas facilities; the Dover and Exeter gas plants are two of these located in New Hampshire.
Population and Asbestos Mortality
Between 1980 and 2000, the population of New Hampshire grew by over 33%, going from 920,000 to over 1.2 million. During this time, there were 234 deaths due to asbestos-related causes, or roughly 1 in every 7,000 people. Malignant mesothelioma was slightly more prevalent among these victims, who were concentrated in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties.
New Hampshire (NH) Job Sites At Risk From Asbestos Exposure:
Over the course of the last century, hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed to asbestos while on the job – and for the most part, they were not warned. Below is a list of Job sites from the state of New Hampshire (NH) where workers were potentially and unnecessarily put at risk:
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire (NH) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
Today, between 25 and 30% of all Americans will get some form of cancer during their lifetimes. There are many reasons for this, including the modern lifestyle and the poisons that have been put into the environment – of which asbestos is a prime example.
The number of clinics and hospitals that specialize in oncology have increased in response to the growing number of patients.
New Hampshire (NH) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
A search through the New Hampshire Federal District Court Cases for asbestos-related personal injury product liability lawsuits or New Hampshire mesothelioma lawsuits brings up no recent lawsuits.
New Hampshire is ranked 42 in the U.S. for mesothelioma cases. With a mesothelioma mortality rate of 11.58 per million, New Hampshire has a crude mortality rank of 28 in the country.
New Hampshire has a number of laws and regulations in order to protect its citizens from asbestos. In 2000, the state introduced bill 1369-FN-LOCAL. This bill permitted New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services to expand its asbestos licensing program to include people who disturb asbestos waste at asbestos disposal sites. It also clarified New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services’ authority to regulate asbestos disposal sites in a way that was consistent with federal regulations and authorized the department to consult with local officials to determine effective methods to deal with properties where substantial quantities of asbestos waste materials were disposed of in the past. In addition, the bill specified that property owners would not be subject to penalties from the state’s revised statute RSA 141-E as long as they complied with disclosure requirements or were not aware of the existence of asbestos on the property before its release and afterwards reported the situation and worked to prevent further asbestos release.
Another key New Hampshire bill was Senate Bill 115-FN, which was introduced in 2005. This bill transferred responsibility for asbestos-related issues to the department of environmental services from the department of health and human services. The bill also established a permanent account into which the fines levied under RSA 141-E:16 would be deposited, where the money would be used exclusively for the administration of the department’s responsibilities relating to asbestos. The bill also contained a stipulation similar to the one in 1369-FN-LOCAL protecting property owners from penalties when they cause a release of asbestos if the presence of asbestos on the property was unknown before the release and if they report the situation to the department and take steps to prevent further release of asbestos fibers.
In 2007, House Bill 25-FN-A was a capital improvements funding bill. In it, $2 million was earmarked for asbestos abatement in Hillsborough County North; $1.16 million was designated for upgrades, including asbestos abatement at a Veterans’ home; and just under a million was budgeted for asbestos abatement for another facility. Although asbestos lawsuits in the state do not often capture the interest of the media, this bill does indicate the extent to which asbestos is of a concern for the state’s lawmakers.
Another bill, brought before the state session in 1994, was an act that authorized the department of environmental services to impose administrative fines including ones for air pollution control and asbestos management and control. The bill gave the commissioner of the department of environmental services, the authority to impose a maximum administrative fine of $2,000 for each offense upon anyone who violates New Hampshire’s asbestos safety rules.
Those interested in filing New Hampshire mesothelioma lawsuits or hiring a New Hampshire mesothelioma lawyer should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in New Hampshire is three years with a discovery rule that states that this amount of time begins when the problem (in this case the mesothelioma) either was discovered or should have been discovered. Wrongful death cases fall under the same statute of limitations and discovery rule. There is no specific statute about asbestos in New Hampshire.