New York Mesothelioma Lawyer

Legally Reviewed By: Jud Waltman

Mesothelioma is a deadly disease brought on by exposure to asbestos fibers. Such exposure is the result of intentional coverup activities by greedy corporations that knew asbestos was harmful but failed to disclose its presence or the dangers to their workers. These asbestos companies thought their money and power would save them from accountability for their willful concealment.

The resulting harm is widespread. One study revealed that 255,000 people around the world die annually because of asbestos exposure.

The New York mesothelioma attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm believe the law applies equally to everyone. We specialize in holding large companies accountable when they recklessly harm individuals.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a bundle of fibers composed of six minerals found naturally in the earth, which can be separated into thin threads. These fibers are non-conductive and resistant to fire, heat and chemicals. These qualities made asbestos useful in commercial and industrial applications. 

Asbestos fibers are harmful when inhaled. Inhaled asbestos fibers lodge deeply into the lungs, where they can cause inflammation and genetic damage at the cellular level, leading to asbestos-related diseases later in life.

Asbestos Exposure in New York

New York City is home to many older structures, construction sites and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. These factors create increased risks for New Yorkers.

Past Occupational Exposure

The majority of asbestos exposure occurred in the past when asbestos-containing material was used on a large-scale basis before the dangers were known. Workers regularly handled asbestos-containing materials and inhaled microscopic fibers over an extended period of time without protective measures. 

Blue-collar workers carry the highest risk of exposure to asbestos products.

asbestos miners

Asbestos Miners

Asbestos is no longer mined in the United States since the last mine was closed in 2002. However, due to the extended latency period of asbestos-related illnesses, former miners are still developing asbestos-related illnesses.

construction workers

Construction Workers

Construction workers are most at risk during remodeling and demolition projects. The New York State Department of Health regulates these activities and requires site inspections of all buildings to determine if asbestos is present. In cases where asbestos could present a risk to building occupants, the health department requires asbestos abatement.

Construction companies must notify the health department prior to performing activities that could disturb asbestos. These activities, as well as asbestos abatement, must be carried out by licensed, trained asbestos professionals.

Federal asbestos laws also regulate the handling of asbestos. OSHA enforces these regulations, which include the use of personal protective equipment during abatement and demolition activities.

factory workers

Factory Workers

Factory workers during the 20th century handled large volumes of asbestos-containing products while working in poorly-ventilated buildings constructed with asbestos-containing materials. 

The city of Buffalo and the surrounding counties have experienced markedly higher rates of asbestos-related illnesses compared to state and national averages. It may be no coincidence that Buffalo is home to two major factories, among others, that used asbestos extensively throughout the 20th century: Lackawanna Steel Company, owned by Bethlehem Steel, and the General Motors Tonawanda Engine factory, an auto parts manufacturer.

ship builders


Asbestos was widely used in the construction of commercial ships during the first half of the 20th century. It was used as a lining and insulation material, as well as in smaller components, such as pipe insulation, gaskets, filters, caulking and electrical wiring insulation.



Firefighters may be exposed to airborne building materials, including asbestos, while extinguishing fires in damaged structures. Regulations protecting construction workers do not protect firefighters, since older buildings with asbestos still stand and asbestos products are still used in building construction.

auto mechanics

Auto Mechanics

Auto repair workers may have been exposed to asbestos while repairing brakes, clutches and other parts that are subject to friction.

power plant workers

Power Plant Workers

Power plant workers may have experienced regular exposure to electrical wiring insulation, pipes and asbestos-containing appliances. Compounds such as sealant and cement contain asbestos, and workers frequently have had to cut through these products while repairing, manufacturing or installing appliances and electrical wiring, releasing asbestos fibers.

The World Trade Center 9/11 Terrorist Attack

The World Trade Center was constructed with more than 1,000 tons of asbestos, all of which became airborne on September 11, 2001. First responders and survivors were exposed to a large concentration of asbestos fibers. 

The site smoldered for more than three months, emitting a cloud of asbestos and other toxic particles into the surrounding area, exposing nearby residents and workers involved in the cleanup efforts.

Public Buildings

A New York City Department of Environmental Protection study found that 68 percent of NYC buildings harbor asbestos-containing materials. More alarmingly, 84 percent of the materials had surface damage, posing a danger of asbestos fibers being released into the environment.

Buildings in New York City that are known to contain or have contained asbestos include the following:

  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital – The hospital has been upfront about the presence of asbestos and has followed all laws. Areas containing asbestos are conspicuously marked.
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority – This has been abated. For decades, the MTA pumped asbestos-tainted air into an East New York bus depot when it used asbestos-laced filters in 57 vents to dampen noise.
  • Apartment buildings – Many of the apartment buildings in New York contain asbestos. Some landlords attempt to avoid asbestos abatement by falsifying inspection reports. In 2018, this led to the arrest of 17 landlords whose tenants were living with asbestos without their knowledge. 

The mere presence of asbestos should not cause alarm, as long as state and federal laws are followed. New York City residents who are concerned or aware of the presence of asbestos can call 311 to report the issue.

hallway of a damaged building

Military Personnel

Military personnel have experienced a high rate of asbestos exposure during combat and while carrying out job duties. Although veterans make up approximately eight percent of the United States population, they account for 30 percent of asbestos deaths.

Asbestos fibers were released when buildings overseas were destroyed or structures were damaged. However, the primary source of exposure came from the military’s own equipment, and the U.S. Navy experienced the highest levels. Shipyard workers lined all naval ships with asbestos and used asbestos in engine and boiler-room components.

High-risk naval professions included the following:

  • Gunner’s mate
  • Electrician’s mate
  • Boatswain’s mate 
  • Hull maintenance technicians
  • Machinists
  • Fire controllers
  • Welders 
  • Pipefitters

U.S. Army personnel in the following occupations experienced the highest levels of asbestos exposure:

  • Infantry
  • Vehicle mechanic
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Artillery

The highest risk of asbestos exposure among U.S. Air Force personnel was borne by airplane mechanics and by all mechanics in the U.S. Marines Corps.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard faced asbestos exposure on ships built before 1991.

Asbestos Exposure and Your Health

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they settle deeply into the lungs, where they gradually cause harm over a period of 10 to 40 years, and even longer in some cases. The most well-known asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma.


Mesothelioma is an aggressive, malignant cancer of the thin tissues surrounding vital organs, including the heart, lungs and stomach. The most common types of mesothelioma are pleural, pericardial and peritoneal mesothelioma. Less common types impact the larynx and testes.


Asbestosis is a painful inflammatory condition of the lungs that causes permanent lung damage. Early symptoms include shortness of breath and coughing.

Other Cancers

Asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer, laryngeal cancer and ovarian cancer.

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma has no known cure. However, early detection and treatment can result in positive outcomes, including a longer lifespan with a higher quality of life. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Mesothelioma often is not detected until it is in the later stages because the early symptoms mimic other less serious conditions.

What types of compensation are available for mesothelioma victims?

Mesothelioma victims can receive substantial compensation, which could include the following damages:

Factors that determine the type and amount of compensation include the total medical expenses, severity of the illness, projected lifespan and types of claims for which the plaintiff is eligible.

a medical bill statement

Asbestos Trus