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Asbestos Control Program Violations in New York City

A recent report from the Environmental Working Group indicates that during the period 1999 to 2013 more than 12,000 New Yorkers lost their lives to an asbestos-caused disease — one of the highest totals in the country. Asbestos is a deadly mineral, and understanding how and where New Yorkers might be exposed to it is critical.

The map below is intended for New Yorkers who are concerned that they, or their loved ones, risk their lives at work each day by working around asbestos and asbestos-containing products. If you live or work in one of the five boroughs of New York City - Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan or Staten Island - review the map to see if your company, or a company managing a site where you worked, has violated asbestos laws that could have resulted in unwittingly exposing employees and residents to the toxic mineral.

How To Use This Map

The map below shows clusters of markers for NYC addresses that have been issued violations due to the presence of asbestos. Click a marker cluster to zoom in on that area and select a blue marker pin to view the details for a particular address.

You can also navigate the map by clicking and grabbing to pan around, or by using the zoom controls at the top left.

Total Asbestos Violations (2011 - Present)
ManhattanQueensBrooklynBronxStaten Island
Total Violations
Total Violation Amounts
Total Violations Still Open
Total Violations Closed
Swipe left and right to view table

Mishandling Asbestos is Unsafe and Illegal

Asbestos is a human carcinogen, known to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen, as well as other cancers and respiratory diseases. As a result, management of asbestos is highly regulated by the State and Federal Government. Removal, management and disposal of the material must be handled by certified contractors.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, regulates asbestos abatement and removal projects, and the disposal of the waste. Violation of the laws and guidelines come with stiff penalties, and potentially, with serious consequences to the nearby workers and residents who were exposed to airborne asbestos.

lungs

Data on the map reflects cases of violations of asbestos handling laws throughout the five boroughs. Violations include failure to properly contain asbestos, using uncertified workers (or those who are not trained in proper handling of the deadly material), falsely reporting the level of asbestos present, and improper containment or removal of asbestos.

Any of these illegal practices could result in the release of asbestos into the air where it can be inhaled or ingested - leading to a lifetime risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. Asbestos is so toxic even small amounts of the mineral and infrequent exposure can lead to asbestos-related diseases.

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plumbing electrician tools crane ship

The Danger of Asbestos to New York Employees

Over 20 million people in the United States are at risk of developing malignant mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, according to the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Further, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an estimated 1.3 million construction and general industry American workers are potentially being exposed to asbestos.

Much of this exposure affects men and women who worked in an environment where asbestos-containing materials were processed or handled. Most at-risk for disease are trade workers such as insulators, plumbers and pipefitters, electricians, sheet metal workers, auto mechanics, refinery and factory workers and shipyard workers.

81,300 trade workers were employed in the five boroughs in 2014, with an anticipated growth of nearly 23 percent by 2022, according to a report from the New York Bureau of Labor Market Information, Division of Research and Statistics.

The trade workers include electricians, plumbers and pipefitters, and construction workers. These men and women not only focus on new construction, but they are called upon to update, renovate and demolish existing commercial and residential structures. This work on buildings built prior to the 1980s, where asbestos was used in construction materials, often places them at risk of disturbing asbestos.

Once the asbestos materials are hammered, chiseled, sanded or loosened in any manner, the friable material can become airborne and, subsequently, can be inhaled leading to health risks. However, if asbestos is managed properly, and according to regulations and safety guidelines, these workers should be safe when on the job.

Statistics

Each year there are around 3,000 Americans diagnosed with the deadly asbestos cancer. The only recognized cause is exposure to asbestos, which can be prevented. Read more about statistics of mesothelioma in the United States.

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mesothelioma cancer statistics

Next Steps

The EPA reports there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a toxic mineral that can fester inside the body for decades before symptoms of mesothelioma, or asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs, develop. As a result, anyone who has been exposed faces a life-long risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.

If you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, and you experience the symptoms in this list, talk to your medical professional.

Although these symptoms could lead to the flu, bronchitis or other conditions it is important to be checked out by a doctor.

  • Fever,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Chest pain,
  • A nagging cough,
  • Weight loss, and
  • Fatigue.

SOURCES