Watertown is the county seat for Jefferson County, New York. The city, with close to 30,000 residents, is located approximately 70 miles north of Syracuse on the Black River, and just 30 miles from Ontario, Canada.
Watertown is a charming city, with many historical 19th century homes and buildings. The Downtown District offers a 21-stop walking tour showcasing the best of the grand and ornate architecture. The city is home to unique boutiques, shops, and restaurants.
The development of waterpower in Watertown in the nineteenth century started the wheels of progress for the community. With the Black River providing power, the city became one of the nation’s principal paper manufacturing communities. Paper mills and associated industries and manufacturing plants dominated the local economy well into the twentieth century, providing the city with decades of economic prosperity.
Watertown’s rise to a manufacturing center was driven by the Black River’s power to generate electricity for running the local industries. The railroad, which came to Watertown in 1851, helped to promote industry in the town. Water power and rail provided the city with a strong base of manufacturing from which the city thrived economically well into the twentieth century.
Knowlton Specialty Paper Products began operations in 1808. Today Knowlton’s Specialty Paper Products is the oldest continuously running paper mill in America, boasting over 200 years of business.
Over the years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the company used vermiculite, which can be contaminated with asbestos. Paper mills in Watertown, Carthage and Newton Falls also used asbestos. The EPA states that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, and even infrequent exposure poses a risk. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and is associated with mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Nearby Fort Drum Army Base is another major economic force in the Watertown area, employing thousands of people. It is also one of the largest Army bases in the United States.
Talc mining in Gouvernor, NY is another nearby industry. Talc can be contaminated with asbestos.
The Danger of Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma is a rare but serious cancer of the lining of the lungs, chest or abdomen, most often caused by exposure to asbestos. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, it can be treated with varying degrees of success through the use of surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation. Around 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, with nearly the same number dying from the disease.
New York is one of the states with the highest number of deaths from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Close to 4,000 deaths caused by asbestos exposure have occurred in the state since 1979.
Historically, companies that supplied asbestos did not provide adequate safety warnings of its dangers. As a result, many men and women inhaled the toxic mineral leaving them vulnerable to developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The real tragedy of these diseases is that they could have been avoided through effective safety and preventive measures. Most of the victims of the disease were unwittingly exposed to asbestos at work or while serving in the military.
Diseases such as mesothelioma develop up to 60 years after exposure to asbestos. Most often, diagnoses are not made until symptoms appear and the disease has progressed to an advanced stage, leaving the patient with life-threatening complications. Detecting the disease in its earliest stage is critical for the most effective treatment.
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and have concerns on your health, our top rated asbestos attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP can certainly help you. Call or visit our locations in New York City, Woodstock, Albany and Rochester. See also asbestos exposure in Utica NY.