Asbestos exposure on the LIRR?

(Page 2 of 2)
I did find general information, mostly from law firms, about national railroad medical offices’ reports, beginning in the 1930s, relating to cancers and health decline possibly caused by exposure to asbestos, but usually from multiple changing of brake shoes and boiler jacket insulation release of fibers into the cab. Railroads, like most big businesses, like to remain big, so they put out many reports denying that parts of trains contain asbestos. It wasn’t until the 1990s that railroad equipment was seriously studied and the problem addressed, and that was mostly due to huge monetary awards to exposed workers.

Since it takes between 15 and 40 years to develop lung illness or cancer from asbestos, it would be a lengthy and thorough study to prove your claim. Other than eliminating asbestos use, I would suggest doing material sampling and air testing, using certified testing procedures and certified labs to analyze the results. There are so many ways to be exposed to asbestos that studies have focused on exposure in railroad workers rather than passengers. Asbestos is used as a flame-proof insulator. If it is being used in air ducts, there are alternative methods. Thanks for your question.

© 2012 Monte Leeper. Readers are encouraged to send questions to, with “Herald question” in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper, architect.

Page 2 / 2