Asbestos in New Hampshire

The use of asbestos was common in all 50 states for most of the twentieth century. Before its effects were widely recognized, asbestos was used in hundreds of applications in numerous industries. New Hampshire’s manufacturing industry thrived during the height years of asbestos exposure, and the industries of paper milling, textiles, naval shipyards, and power plants were particular hotspots for exposure.

In the textile industry, asbestos was used to weave products like oven mitts and racing gear. The textile mills were poorly ventilated, so the asbestos used to weave, as well as the asbestos in the insulation of machinery, was often released into the air and circulated for long periods of time, exposing everyone within the mill to the fibers. Asbestos insulation was also used in power plants throughout the state in the interest of fire-proofing. One of the largest roofing and insulation producers in the country, Johns-Manville Corporation, was located in Nashua, and manufactured asbestos tiles and disposed of its asbestos waste throughout the city. Lung cancer lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn the residents of New Hampshire of the dangers of exposure to this substance. If you worked in any of these industries and developed a related illness, contact an asbestos attorney immediately for a free consultation.

For many years (c. 1900 – 1970) the Nashua plant made its asbestos-containing waste material available free of charge to area property owners for use as fill. Consequently, asbestos-containing waste material was dumped in large quantities throughout the Nashua/Hudson communities, generally to fill low lying areas and facilitate land development. Today, over 300 properties in Nashua and Hudson are identified as asbestos disposal sites. Additional sites are being identified each year. At the Tilton plant site, the company land filled asbestos waste in two separate areas on the property. Those areas are no longer in use and are capped with soil materials. In Meredith, asbestos waste was disposed of at the town landfill, which is now closed and capped.

The asbestos waste dumped in Nashua and Hudson is in a variety of forms, including: pellets; spheres; whole sheets (4′ x 8′) and scraps/fragments of sheets resembling “cement board”; rolled sheets; dewatered sludge; and waste from dust collection systems, referred to as “baghouse” waste. It may be gray, white, black, green, or reddish in color. After being in the soil for many years, it has a tendency to blend with its surrounding and can be hard to distinguish from clean soil. This is most often the case with “baghouse” waste, which is a fine, dust-like material.

In addition to Nashua, asbestos-containing products were manufactured for many years in Meredith and Tilton. In Meredith, the Keasbey & Mattison Company operated an asbestos plant from the 1930’s until 1962 when the plant was purchased by Amatex. Amatex continued to make asbestos products at the plant until 1982. In Tilton, the Quinn-T manufacturing facility produced asbestos paper products for many years.

Less is known about the waste disposal practices of the asbestos manufacturing plants formerly located in Meredith and Tilton. In Tilton there are two areas which the company used to landfill asbestos waste. These areas are no longer in use and are capped with soil materials. In Meredith, asbestos waste was disposed of at the town landfill. The existence of other dump sites in Tilton and Meredith is not known.

Inhalation is the primary exposure route of concern, because breathing asbestos fibers may cause them to become trapped in the lungs. Ingestion through swallowing may also cause the fibers to be trapped in body tissues. Asbestos is not absorbed through the skin, so merely touching it does not pose a significant risk to human health. However, if skin, clothing, tools, machinery, or other items become contaminated with asbestos fibers, the fibers can be carried into the home, where they may become airborne or contaminate other surfaces. All surfaces that come in contact with asbestos waste, including skin and clothing, should be decontaminated to prevent more widespread contamination.

Asbestos can move with surface water flow. If asbestos waste is allowed to come in contact with rivers, wetlands and other surface water bodies, fibers may be transported to places that will result in human exposure, including intakes for drinking water supplies and recreation areas.

Asbestos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn that asbestos-containing products were manufactured in every state before asbestos bans took effect. If you were exposed to the toxic mineral and developed an asbestos related illness, call a lung cancer lawyer today to discuss your legal rights.