While you may have heard about the dangers of asbestos, many people in Louisiana don't know what it is, how people are exposed, or what harm asbestos can cause. Asbestos is a mineral found in rocks and soil composed of soft, flexible, lightweight fibers. Because it is heat resistant, manufacturers incorporated asbestos into building materials, insulation, fire-retardant clothing, and even brake pad linings over the years.
Unfortunately, asbestos exposure can lead to Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lining of the body's internal organs, lung cancer, and other chronic lung ailments. While there are no known asbestos mineral deposits in Louisiana, 769 residents of our state died from Mesothelioma between 1999 to 2015. When materials containing asbestos break down or are disturbed by construction, fire, or renovation, asbestos fibers can be released into the air or water, where people can inhale or ingest them. So, if you've worked near asbestos in the past, it's good to be aware of the possible risks.
Risk Factors for Mesothelioma in Louisiana
The primary risk factor for developing Mesothelioma is a personal history of asbestos exposure. Several industries common in Louisiana have exposed workers to asbestos, including:
- Oil Industry
- Shipbuilding Industry
- Cement Plants
- Power Plants
Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, New Orleans, and Shreveport have all dealt with asbestos exposure from various industries. For example, W.R. Grace operated an asbestos exfoliation plant in New Orleans from 1965 to 1985. The plant broke down vermiculite contaminated with asbestos into smaller pieces that other industries could use. This exfoliation released asbestos into the air, exposing workers.
After facing multiple asbestos lawsuits in court, the company created the WRG Asbestos PI Trust in its bankruptcy proceedings. Former employees and their families facing Mesothelioma and other cancers can file claims with the asbestos trust fund for compensation. W.R. Grace is just the tip of the iceberg. In cities throughout Louisiana, companies like Dow Chemical, DuPont, Borden Chemical, Copolymer Corporation, and dozens more may have exposed workers to asbestos.
Asbestos exposure doesn't just happen at work. After hurricane Katrina, widespread building damage triggered a huge release of asbestos fibers into Louisiana's air and water in many clean-up areas. First responders, construction workers, and residents in clean-up areas throughout Louisiana unknowingly faced asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Fortunately, Louisiana law acknowledges the dangers of asbestos exposure. The Louisiana School Abatement Act acknowledges that many localities used asbestos-containing materials to construct primary and secondary schools throughout Louisiana. The state administrative code also contains regulations for asbestos-containing materials in schools and emissions standards for asbestos, including standards for demolition and revisions. Federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also address the harms of asbestos exposure.
Call The Cheek Law Firm, LLC
If you or a loved one faces a Mesothelioma diagnosis or another asbestos-related disease after asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. Give the attorneys at The Cheek Law Firm a call at 504-304-4333 or contact us online today to set up a free consultation and consider your legal options.