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Asbestos Use in Massena

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New York Office

Belluck & Fox LLP
546 Fifth Ave, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 681-1575

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Massena was one of the fastest growing commercial and industrial centers in St. Lawrence County, New York during the twentieth century. Despite the industrial activity in Massena, the town has remained fairly small with a population of approximately 13,000 people.

Bordering the St. Lawrence River, Massena is intimately involved in commerce associated with the St. Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks and navigable channels allowing Atlantic shipping to reach into the Great Lakes. The five Great Lakes coupled with the St. Lawrence Seaway is known as the “Fourth Coast.” Massena is often considered the gateway to America’s Fourth Coast.

Beginning in 1902 with Alcoa opening an industrial plant in the town, the people of Massena and the surrounding area enjoyed many decades of employment and financial stability. In 1959, General Motors opened an engine casting plant that employed over 1,600 employees at its peak. Alcoa’s Massena Operations is the longest continually operating aluminum facility in the world, serving customers in the automotive, transportation, aerospace, and industrial distribution markets. Today, it employs nearly 1,100 residents.

Besides being the center of commerce for St. Lawrence County, Massena offers local residents and tourists many recreational opportunities including boating, ice fishing, and indoor and outdoor ice skating. The town is located a short distance north of the Catskill Mountains that provide many opportunities for the outdoor recreationist.

The Downtown District houses exciting specialty boutiques, a 108-room hotel, and a full range of financial institutions and professional service firms. Both the Grasse and Raquette Rivers wind through the north end of town, providing luxurious waterfront properties for commercial or residential use.

Asbestos Exposure in Massena

While industry brought a significant number of jobs to the area, many of the industrial facilities used asbestos-containing materials in the products. Asbestos in the work environment left many Massena industrial workers susceptible to the harmful effects of the asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos is the direct cause of multiple diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer – with mesothelioma perhaps the most tragic. Mesothelioma is a rare, incurable cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium. The most unfortunate aspect of being diagnosed with mesothelioma is that it was an entirely preventable disease.

Since 1979 asbestos-related diseases have been responsible for close to 4,000 New Yorkers’ deaths.