The National Institute of Health is funding a research study to determine how the asbestos from former industrial sites in Ambler, Pennsylvania has affected its residents and will continue to impact the community. Some 50 years ago, the town of Ambler in Montgomery County was a prime location for the asbestos industry in Pennsylvania, with several asbestos manufacturing plants. The factories owned and operated by Keasby Mattison, CertainTeed and Nicolet, for nearly one hundred years were closed, however, in the 1980’s after asbestos became a known carcinogen. Today, residents of Ambler are suffering the lingering effects from years of daily asbestos exposure and the collapse of their community’s economic hub.
The research study will be conducted by scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the University of Pennsylvania. The five-year study, made possible by a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH), will be led by Dr. Fran Barg, an associate professor at the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Barg’s research team will interview residents of Ambler, both past and present, to examine how they were affected and continue to be affected by the rise and fall of the asbestos industry in their town, including long- term health consequences such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. The study will also seek to determine what impact the asbestos factories’ closings had on the economic, social and financial conditions of the community.
Because symptoms of mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years to become evident, Ambler residents and plant workers exposed to asbestos in the 1960’s or 1970’s could just now be developing symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma. For this reason, the number of cases of asbestos-related illnesses is expected to continue to rise in Ambler. Newer residents may also be at risk of asbestos exposure as asbestos fibers may still remain from the former plants. The slightest disturbance of a former plant site can cause asbestos to become airborne, putting more residents of the community at risk even today.
The results of the Ambler study will be used to create an online database to provide information about asbestos-related health risks, profiles of workers and other individuals impacted by the town’s asbestos industry, and educational materials for communities, lawmakers, schools, and workers. In addition, an exhibit at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia will document the impact of the asbestos industry on Ambler with photos, interviews, news reports and data from the study.
While the information collected by the Ambler study is intended to aid Ambler and its residents to move forward and thrive, it is also intended to be useful to other communities that are located near industrial work sites that may contain hazardous materials. Hopefully, other communities can learn from Ambler’s history, and Ambler’s rehabilitation efforts can assist other communities to move forward.
If you or someone you love may have been exposed to asbestos at work or within your community and is now suffering from lung cancer, mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, contact the Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at the law firm of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. With offices in Center City Philadelphia, we are conveniently located to represent victims of asbestos throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our asbestos attorneys are compassionate and caring professionals who understand the sensitive nature of asbestos-related diseases, as well as the complexities of asbestos cases. We will assist you in recovering the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us at 800-369-0899 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.