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Asbestos Use in Niagara Falls, NY

New York Office

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

Other Offices

Niagara Falls, NY is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. The spectacular views of the massive, powerful waterfalls continue to draw tourists with approximately 22 million visits each year. The town itself has a population of just 50,000 and is situated just 20 miles from Buffalo, NY, an hour from the Toronto area.

The hydroelectric power that has been harnessed from the falls helped fuel growth in the region. According to the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation, the world’s first large-scale hydroelectric generating station opened in Niagara Falls in 1895. Today, hydroelectricity is one of Niagara Falls’ most important products with the power plants producing nearly 2.5 million kilowatts of electricity.

Chemical and industrial plants settled in the area to take advantage of that power. Companies like DuPont, Olin, and Mathiesen opened plants in Niagara Falls.  In 1987, Olin Niagara formed a joint venture with DuPont, and the Niachlor plant was established. Today, Olin Niagara produces bleach, caustic soda, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen and sulfuric acid.

Hooker Chemical Co., and its parent corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation have operated a plant in Niagara Falls for decades, dating back to the early 1900’s. Commonly referred to as “Oxy,” the company manufactured asbestos containing products in Niagara Falls.

In 1979, the U.S. EPA named the area around Occidental a Superfund site and charged Occidental Petroleum with creating an environmental hazard after the company buried tons of toxic waste over several decades. This led to the infamous “Love Canal Tragedy.”

Other plants in the area included Niacet Corporation, Carborundum Company, Union Carbide, Niagara Electro Chemical, Dunlop Tire and Rubber, General Motors and Spaulding Fibre. Belluck & Fox has represented people who worked for these companies and developed mesothelioma. We know where asbestos was used and which companies supplied it. We will use this knowledge to build a strong case on your behald against the asbestos companies responsible for your illness.

Spaulding Fibre in nearby Tonawanda manufactured leatherboard (made from leather scraps and wood pulp), industrial laminated plastics, hard vulcanized fiber, bakelite (under the trade name Spauldite) and Filawound (fiberglass) tube. The company operated in the city from 1911–1992 and at one time was the major employer in the city. Spaulding Fibre closed its doors in 1992 with just 300 remaining employees.  The company used asbestos in many of its products, and the manufacturing location has been designated a “brownfield site” by the U.S. EPA.  The designation means reuse of the space may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant such as asbestos.

Asbestos Hazards for Niagara Falls Workers

Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly form of cancer that occurs in workers who are exposed to asbestos. This disease is linked to asbestos exposure in New York workplaces, such as the chemical plants in Niagara Falls. Mesothelioma can take anywhere from 15 to 60 years to develop after the initial exposure.

Manufacturing, which has been integral to the economy of New York, exposed many workers to asbestos in the workplace. The state of New York ranks among the top in the nation for deaths from exposure to asbestos. Over the last 30 years, more than 2,500 New Yorkers have died from asbestos-related diseases.

Many workers were exposed to asbestos because the manufacturers of asbestos did not properly warn about the dangers of asbestos fibers. Asbestos breaks down into a fine dust in the industrial environment. The dust fibers, when inhaled, can lead to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.  As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, no level of asbestos exposure is safe.

While most people diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed on their jobs or from using asbestos in their homes, others have developed mesothelioma from ingesting or inhaling asbestos fibers clinging to the clothes of loved ones who worked around asbestos.