Asbestos Exposure in New Hampshire
Throughout the twentieth century, materials manufactured at industrial plants in New Hampshire often contained asbestos. Textile, paper, and building products were commonly produced with the carcinogenic fiber in the state until the 1980s. While regulation ended the production of those products, leftover waste from each site was disposed of throughout local communities, water sources, and landfills. Subsequently, New Hampshire contains decades of old toxic waste beneath roadways, in houses, and along river banks.
Exposure to the contaminant can lead to fatal illnesses, like mesothelioma, which can affect the protective lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. When inhaled, tiny asbestos fibers become lodged in the body’s mesothelium. In turn, this can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones.
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Dozens of occupations in New Hampshire led to significant toxic exposure among thousands of employees. Industries like construction, power plants, manufacturing, and shipbuilding commonly used the mineral as fire-resistant insulation or in protective gear. While asbestos originally served to safeguard employees, many of them likely inhaled or ingested the toxic fibers and today risk developing cancer.
To reduce the risk of fire or an explosion, power plants used the mineral in multiple applications. Until the 1980s, equipment used at power plants, like boilers, turbines, and steam pipes were common places for employee exposure.
Asbestos can be found in various applications throughout other industrial equipment, including:
- Acoustical plaster
- Blown-in insulation
- Cement pipes
- Electrical panels
- Elevator equipment
- Fire curtains
- Fireproofing materials
- Floor tiles
- Heating and electrical duts
- High-temperature gaskets
- HVAC duct insulation
- Laboratory hoods, gloves, fire blankets
- Pipe insulation
- Popcorn ceilings
- Spray-applied insulation
- Textured paints
- Thermal taping compounds
- Tile vinyl
Shipbuilding companies along the east coast border of New Hampshire were common sites for exposure to occur. Combining extensive use of the toxin throughout ships and poor ventilation, shipyard workers were and still are among the most at risk for exposure. Boiler rooms, gaskets, insulation, and sleeping quarters are some of the places where the toxin significantly exposed employees or military personnel.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was established in 1800 and is the U.S. Navy’s oldest operating shipyard. The shipyard is located on a cluster of conjoined islands off New Hampshire’s coastline. The site served as a building and repair facility during the Civil War and now operates three dry docks and services submarines.
The 278-acre site was added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund List in 1994 due to poor ventilation and various hazards, including asbestos. Nearly 400 structures among the site contained the toxin, along with ships and submarines. Asbestos-containing gloves, aprons, thermal curtains, and blankets were commonly handled by employees. Pipefitters, welders, electricians, and sheet metal mechanics likely came into contact throughout the site as well.
New Hampshire Asbestos Landfills
It’s illegal to throw away products that contain asbestos without proper packaging. Some landfills in New Hampshire are permitted to accept the carcinogen. Working at or visiting these landfills can lead to airborne exposure. New Hampshire landfills that accept the toxin include:
|Berlin City Sanitary Landfill||Berlin, NH|
|Claremont Municipal Landfill||Claremont, NH|
|Concord N.H. Landfill||Concord, NH|
|Exeter Town Dump||Exeter, NH|
|Hooksett County Landfill||Hookset, NH|
|Jaffrey Town Landfill||Jaffrey, NH|
|Lebanon Municipal Landfill||West Lebanon, NH|
|Mt. Carberry Landfill||Berlin, NH|
|Nashua Sanitary Landfill||Nashua, NH|
|Sanco Landfill||Bethlehem, NH|
|Town of Merrimack Landfill||Merrimack, NH|
|Turnkey Landfill||Rochester, NH|
|Waste Wood Processing Plant||Salem, NH|
Other Disposal Sites
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services maintains a database of sites believed to have buried asbestos wastes. While the sites are inactive, the soil around the sites may still contain toxic waste. The sites include:
|Envirovantage, Inc||Epping, NH|
|Geo Insight, Inc.||Manchester, NH|
|GZA Geoenvironmental, Inc.||Bedford, NH|
|Leighton A White, Inc.||Milford, NH|
|Nashua – DPW – Solid Waste Dept.||Nashua, NH|
|New Hampshire Boring, Inc.||Derry, NH|
|Nobis Engineering, Inc.||Concord, NH|
|Peniel Environmental Solutions LLC||Milford, NH|
|RPF Environmental, Inc.||Northwood, NH|
|S & R Corporation||Lowell, NH|
|Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.||Concord, NH|
Legal Help for New Hampshire Residents
New Hampshire residents who developed an asbestos-related condition as a result of negligent exposure may be eligible for compensation. According to the state’s statute of limitations, residents have three years to file a personal injury claim after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.
If a loved one has passed away from mesothelioma, they may file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years following their death. Learn more about mesothelioma lawsuits with access to our free mesothelioma guide.
If you’ve encountered asbestos while on the job, your employer could be held responsible. Learn about your legal options.