The southernmost state in New England, Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the nation. It has 169 incorporated towns, many of which are rural communities. Nevertheless, Connecticut’s long tradition of being an industrial powerhouse and a deep connection to shipping and naval activity in the Atlantic are marked by a history of asbestos exposure among civilian workers and military personnel.
At present, Connecticut has had a total of 764 asbestos-related deaths, ranking it #23 in the U.S. for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related deaths.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.
Keep in mind that we are happy to offer assistance to residents of all Connecticut cities, such as:
New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, New Britain, Greenwich, Bristol, West Hartford, Meriden, Hamden, Fairfield, Manchester, Milford, West Haven, Stratford, East Hartford, Middletown, Enfield, Wallingford, Southington, Shelton, Groton, Norwich, Torrington, Trumbull, Glastonbury, Naugatuck, Vernon, Newington, Cheshire, Branford, Windsor, East Haven, New Milford, Newtown, Westport, South Windsor, New London, Wethersfield, Farmington, Mansfield, Ridgefield, North Haven, Simsbury, Windham, Guilford, Watertown, Bloomfield, Berlin, Darien, New Canaan, Southbury, Montville, Monroe, East Lyme, Rocky Hil,l Madison, Waterford, Ansonia, Bethel, Stonington, Killingly, Wilton, Avon, Plainville, Brookfield, Wolcott, Seymour, Colchester, Plainfield, Suffield, Ledyard, Tolland, Ellington, North Branford, New Fairfield, Orange, Cromwell, Clinton, Oxford, East Hampton, Windsor, Locks, Derby, Coventry, Plymouth, Stafford, Griswold, Granby, Somers, East Windsor, Winchester, Old Saybrook, Weston, Canton, Woodbury, Portland, Prospect, and more.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Connecticut
Although Connecticut doesn’t have an Atlantic coastline, it does have access to the open sea by way of Long Island Sound to its south. From colonial times to the present day, the state has been building civilian and military ships and submarines. Deep sea fishing, ship repair, and other maritime enterprises form part of Connecticut’s economy. Additionally, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard have two major facilities in the state.
Some of the state’s larger inland communities, such as Hartford, Danbury, and Waterbury are home to heavy industry and manufacturing. Danbury, on the western end of the state, earned the nicknames “Hat City” and “The Hatting Capital of the World” thanks to its large hat-making industry. Waterbury was known as “Brass City” and produced a wide variety of products, ranging from lipstick holders to children’s toys, in its many factories.
Throughout the latter half of the 19th Century and for much of the 20th, almost every industry in Connecticut had a connection to asbestos. Asbestos fibers and asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used in great quantities as fire retardant and insulation in factories, shipyards, ships, dockyards, repair depots, and even in private residences.
In most cases, asbestos was used wherever fire or high temperatures were necessary to make or operate a facility or a ship. Insulation made with asbestos fibers was wrapped around almost every steam pipe or piece of machinery aboard a ship, including gaskets. The shipbuilders and government agencies of the time thought they were using a safe product for the right reasons. Unfortunately, they were wrong.
Considering that the dangers of asbestos exposure had been chronicled as early as the time of the Roman Empire, it is remarkable that the asbestos industry was able to market its products as safe. Yet, for over 100 years, tens of thousands of workers in Connecticut were exposed to the toxic fibers, which are now known to cause mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Connecticut ranks 29th in the U.S. in asbestos-related deaths. In a report published in March of 2004, 249 Connecticuters died from asbestosis between 1979 and 2001. In addition, during the same reporting period, between 249 and 411 persons died from mesothelioma in the state. The estimated combined total of asbestos-related deaths, which surely has increased since the report was published, ranges between 495 and 657 fatalities.
Prominent Connecticut Job Sites Where Asbestos Exposure Took Place
Asbestos fibers and ACMs were used for a long period of modern U.S. history, even after doctors identified the health dangers of extended long-term exposure to the carcinogenic fibers as early as the 1890s. Every major industry in Connecticut, ranging from hats made in mechanized millineries to aircraft and submarine factories, used asbestos either in the manufacturing facilities or their products.
Even worse, homeowners were exposed to asbestos after the fire-resistant material was incorporated into building materials such as roofing shingles or vinyl flooring. Until the 1970s, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first issued findings that linked asbestos exposure to asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, many Connecticut job sites used asbestos with little or no awareness of the dangers involved.
Waterbury earned the sobriquet “Brass City” due to its dominance in manufacturing brass products. For over 100 years, the city’s factories produced so many brass items that by the 1920s Waterbury made one-third of the country’s total brass output.
Many brass manufacturers, including the Mattatuck Manufacturing Company, converted machinery that made buttons, cocktail shakers, and lipstick containers so they could produce brass rods, mortar shells, and cartridge clips for the Army’s Springfield rifles. However, once the war ended in the summer of 1945 the thriving brass industry began to decline as new and cheaper materials replaced brass in the marketplace and many factories closed down.
Most of Waterbury’s industries used asbestos in great quantities, especially in facilities where brass products were made.
- American Brass Company
- Mattatuck Manufacturing Company
- Chase Brass and Copper Company
- Olin Brass
- General Insulation Distributor
- Anaconda Metal Hose
In addition to industrial job sites, many public buildings built before 1978 were constructed with asbestos-containing materials, including roof shingles and insulation. Some Waterbury structures and facilities with known asbestos issues include:
- St. Margaret’s School
- Sacred Heart Rectory
- Waterbury Button Shop
- Waterbury Bank
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church
- St. Anne’s Catholic Church and School
Groton is called the Submarine Capital of the World. In 1899, Isaac Rice founded the Electric Boat Company to construct John P. Holland’s first submarines for the U.S. Navy. As submarines evolved from small, cramped diesel-electric “pigboats” to today’s Seawolf and Virginia-class nuclear attack boats, Electric Boat grew from a small Connecticut shipyard into General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division. The submarines built in Groton were manned by Navy officers and sailors trained at the nearby Submarine School in New London. New London is also the home of the Navy’s main submarine base.
The Navy’s illustrious Silent Service helped defeat the Japanese Navy during World War II and helped maintain the Cold War balance of power with the Soviet Union. However, thousands of shipyard workers, engineers, sailors, and naval officers were exposed to asbestos in Groton and New London. People who built or operated submarines were especially at risk for asbestos exposure. Submarines are cramped and smaller than most surface combat ships, and they are enclosed when they cruise underwater.
This means that asbestos fibers that filtrate through subs’ environmental systems are concentrated and easier to breathe in. Of course, modern subs built after the 1980s have substituted asbestos as an insulator, but thousands of yard workers, sailors, and officers who worked or served aboard World War II or Cold War era boats came in contact with asbestos. They are likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
Though the Electric Boat Shipyard is Groton’s principal job site where asbestos contamination took place, there are others worthy of mention. Persons who worked or lived near these job sites between the 1920s and 1980 should be aware that exposure to asbestos took place there:
- U.S. Coast Guard Training Station
- U.S. Coast Guard Academy
- Groton Vocational Technical High School
- Pfizer, Inc Research Laboratories
- Ballard Oil
- Groton Shipyard
Asbestos Laws in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Public Health set forward regulations on who can handle and how asbestos is handled within the state. The regulations help protect people from the hazards of dangerous asbestos fibers:
- Any schools built with asbestos-containing materials must go through routine inspections and maintenance at all times. A professional, licensed asbestos technician, certified by the state of Connecticut, has to be available to handle any asbestos-related issues at schools.
- Anyone handling asbestos-related materials must be trained and certified by the state of Connecticut.
- Building with friable asbestos can be deemed condemned and in turn must be either renovated or demolished by an asbestos professional.
- Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation must be turned off prior to any asbestos abatement project in order to stop contamination. In addition, the area must be marked off clearly, with warning signs.
- All tools used during asbestos abatement must be thoroughly cleaned, before and after, with HEPA-filtered vacuums and antibacterial cleaning wipes.
- Once an asbestos project is complete, the asbestos technician must test the air thoroughly to ensure its as clear as possible from asbestos. They then must make sure that the removed asbestos is disposed of properly.
For additional details regarding asbestos regulations in Connecticut, contact the Connecticut Department of Public Health at 860-509-8000.
Connecticut Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Lawsuits
As with most other states, Connecticut follows a strict statute of limitations for filing an asbestos-related lawsuit, which mandates the lawsuit must be filed within three years of being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. For wrongful death cases, the plaintiff must file within three years of the victim’s date of death.
Getting Legal Help in Connecticut
Remember, if you’ve been a victim to mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, there is a good chance you may qualify for significant compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. For questions and assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.