In 1900, the St. Lawrence Talc Company began mining operations in Lewis County, New York, close to the Village of Natural Bridge. Located on New York State Route 3, the mine was originally intended to produce silver, but when only trace amounts of it were found, production shifted to talc. In 1916, the company was renamed the Carbola Chemical Company. In 1964, International Talc acquired Carbola, and the mine operated as a division of its new parent company. Mining operations at the site were phased out in 1970, and in 1974, ownership of the mine passed to R. T. Vanderbilt after Vanderbilt’s acquisition of International Talc. Located on 380 acres of land, the Carbola mine consisted of not only a 600-foot deep mine shaft, but a talc mill, laboratory, machine shops, offices and several storage buildings. During its peak production years in the early 20th Century, the mine employed around 100 workers.
Several scientific studies have correlated exposure to talc mined in this region of Northern New York with instances of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer among talc miners.1 Asbestos formations occur naturally throughout talc deposits in the region. Over the past fifty years, Jefferson County has had one of the highest mortality rates for mesothelioma in the United States.2 The Carbola mine is located in Lewis County just a mile away from the Jefferson County border, and many residents of Jefferson County worked in this mine and several others in the area. A study conducted in 2002 estimated that men in Jefferson County had the sixth-highest mesothelioma mortality rate in the nation, while women were ranked second-highest. Since the early 1980s, the mesothelioma rate has increased to the point that it is now five to ten times the background rate.3 Talc mine workers, outside contractors and residents of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties are at risk of developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or other lung ailments related to talc exposure from the Carbola mine. Upon information and belief, there have been at least five mesothelioma cases associated with exposure to the Carbola talc. Employees, family members, and even residents living near or around the Carbola mine have developed and died from mesothelioma
Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos insulation also covered boilers, pipes and associated equipment throughout the Carbola Chemical Company talc mine. Due to wear and tear, laborers removed and reapplied asbestos-containing materials. When workers handled asbestos-containing insulation, asbestos dust and fibers were released into the air and inhaled by anyone in the vicinity. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos and performed their work without masks or protective gear. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases.
Exposure to dust resulting from talc mining and milling put many miners and their families at risk for mesothelioma and lung cancer. If you or a loved one worked, lived or played near the Carbola mine and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.
1 Abraham, Jerrold L., Bruce W. Case, and Mindy J. Hull. "Mesothelioma among Workers in Asbestiform Fiber-bearing Talc Mines in New York State." The Annals of Occupational Hygiene 46 (2002): 132.
2 Abraham, Jerrold L., Bruce W. Case, and Mindy J. Hull. "Mesothelioma among Workers in Asbestiform Fiber-bearing Talc Mines in New York State." The Annals of Occupational Hygiene 46 (2002): 132-134.
3 Abraham, Jerrold L., Bruce W. Case, and Mindy J. Hull. "Mesothelioma among Workers in Asbestiform Fiber-bearing Talc Mines in New York State." The Annals of Occupational Hygiene 46 (2002): 134.