Kodak Park was the largest photographic product manufacturing facility in the world and the largest industrial complex in the Northeastern United States. Now known as Eastman Business Park, it is located in the City of Rochester and Town of Greece. Kodak Park was established in 1891, when four buildings were constructed on a small site near the corner of Ridge Road and Lake Avenue in Rochester, NY. During its peak, Kodak Park employed thousands of workers, and over time, expanded to cover 1,300 acres, including 150 manufacturing buildings. Kodak Park also operated as its own city by maintaining its own electrical power generation, water, steam, sewer and railway systems.
Prior to federal regulations restricting asbestos use in the 1970’s, asbestos-containing materials were used in the construction and maintenance of every building at Kodak Park. Steam lines, various piping systems, manufacturing machinery and boilers throughout the Park were covered with asbestos-containing insulation. Many Kodak employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos through installation, maintenance, and repair of these systems. Two areas of particular concern for asbestos exposure were the powerhouses and the buildings of the Roll Coating Division.
The powerhouses at Kodak Park produced the steam and electricity used to operate the buildings and machinery inside the Park. Nearly all of the electrical power necessary to operate the facility was produced on-site. Located, most recently, in buildings 321 and 31, the powerhouses contain coal-fired boilers which produce steam to spin turbines in order to generate electricity. Asbestos insulation covered the outside of the boilers and turbines, as well as the pipes connected to the boilers. During repairs or routine maintenance, it was often necessary to remove the insulation. Anyone working in the vicinity was very likely exposed to asbestos dust.
Various types of photographic film were produced by the Roll Coating Division located throughout several buildings at Kodak Park. In roll coating, clear acetate film was coated with a series of chemicals that reacted when exposed to light and created a negative of a photograph. Several parts of the roll coating process required heat. To better maintain temperature, some components inside the roll coating machinery were insulated with asbestos. For example, the giant wheels used to coat the acetate with film base were heated with steam. The spokes of the wheels were covered with asbestos- containing insulation. When the systems connecting to the wheels required maintenance, the insulation was disturbed and asbestos fibers became airborne.
We have represented many former Kodak Park workers and their families, and we have an extensive library of information regarding the products to which these workers were exposed. For more information regarding Kodak Park and asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, please visit our website www.lipsitzponterio.com or call us at (716) 849-0701.