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The state of Colorado has seen thousands of deaths related to asbestos exposure over the years. From 1999 to 2013 there were 197 confirmed deaths from asbestosis, 449 from mesothelioma, and nearly 1,800 from lung cancer cases most likely related to asbestos. Mines, natural deposits, oil drilling, natural gas extraction, military installations, and industrial facilities can be blamed for the exposure that led to these deaths and countless other cases of illness.

Several locations have been well-documented to contain asbestos, either naturally or as a contaminant. Anyone in the state who was exposed to this asbestos and who became sick or died as a result has a right to sue for compensation and justice. A Colorado mesothelioma lawyer is an invaluable resource going forward with a case related to asbestos exposure.

Naturally-Occurring Asbestos in Colorado

Colorado is a state that is rich in natural resources and mining and gas and oil extraction have long been important industries in the state. Along with the desirable minerals and resources, Colorado also has a lot of naturally-occurring asbestos. This poses risks to residents in a few ways. When it exists in a mine, this asbestos can be disturbed and contaminate air and water around it. Workers in these mines are at serious risk of being exposed and getting sick.

Naturally occurring asbestos can also harm residents anywhere near it. It can get into the air and into homes and cause illness. Many building and public works projects such as building new roads, can disturb asbestos found naturally in the ground and send it into the air where it may harm workers and residents.

Estes Power Plant

Several locations in the state have been well-documented as containing asbestos that posed risks and even caused illnesses to workers and others. One of these is the Estes Power Plant in Larimer County. The plant was built in 1950 during the heyday of asbestos use. The mineral was used extensively throughout the facility. As a power plant that generated heat, asbestos was especially heavily used in insulation.

For decades, workers in the Estes Power Plant were potentially exposed to asbestos. Any time materials containing asbestos were moved or disturbed fibers may have become loosened and may have entered the air where workers could inhale them. It was not until 2011 that abatement began at the facility. Thousands of square feet of plaster and insulation had to be removed at great cost to make the site safer.

Western Minerals Company

The Western Minerals Company operated a vermiculite processing plant in Denver—an area with some of the highest asbestos exposure and death rates in the state. Vermiculite is a mineral that is often contaminated with asbestos. As with many other processing plants around the country, much of the vermiculite processed in Denver came from the W.R. Grace vermiculite mines in Libby, Montana, a site now known to have been heavily contaminated with asbestos.

Workers at the Western Minerals Company plant in Denver processed over 80,000 tons of the Libby vermiculite. All workers during this time were at risk of being exposed and of becoming sick from asbestos inhalation. Soil samples from the site have found that there is still asbestos contaminating the area, although the air around the site has been declared asbestos-free.

Other Known Work Sites with Asbestos

The Estes Power Plant and Western Minerals Company are just two of many job sites and military installations in the state that have been documented to have contained asbestos that put workers at risk. These workers were put at risk of becoming sick with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, and many did get sick. Some of these workers have sued for compensation, using the services of a Colorado Mesothelioma Lawyer. Some of the sites include:

  • Sedalia Copper Mine, Salida
  • Conoco Oil Refinery, Grand Junction
  • American Smelting and Refining Co., Denver
  • United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs
  • Union Pacific Railroad Company, Denver
  • Drake Power Plant Colorado Springs
  • Eastman Kodak Company, Windsor
  • Gates Rubber Company, Denver
  • Southern Colorado Power Company, Canon City
  • Bay Petroleum Refinery, Denver
  • Continental Oil Company, Denver

Asbestos Laws in Colorado

The laws regarding asbestos in Colorado are similar to those in other states. The state is responsible for licensing asbestos inspectors and asbestos abatement professionals. Any renovation or remodeling project must first be inspected for asbestos, and if it is found it must be removed by a licensed professional. For public buildings, the state requires that a permit be retained before any asbestos is removed. The state also requires that, except for private residences, written notification is given before any work is done with or around asbestos. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment manages permits, licensing, and notification.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on mesothelioma cases and other asbestos claims in Colorado is two years from the time the illness was diagnosed. This is important to know because mesothelioma and other illnesses related to asbestos has a long latency period and may not be diagnosed until years after the exposure occurs. The statute of limitations on wrongful death cases related to asbestos is also two years. Loved ones have two years from the time of death to file a lawsuit against an employer or someone else who can be held accountable for the asbestos exposure.

Working with a Colorado Mesothelioma Lawyer

Several cases against employers and manufacturers of materials containing asbestos have been successfully filed in the state of Colorado over the years. These include cases in the 1980s against corporations like Harbison-Walker Refractory and John Crane Company, two industrial companies that made products with asbestos. Former employees successfully sued for compensation after getting sick.

If you have a case to make because of asbestos exposure and resulting illness, you need to act quickly. The statute of limitations means that you do not have an indefinite amount of time to make your case. Your best option is to work with a Colorado mesothelioma lawyer, someone with expertise in asbestos laws and the laws of the state. This professional can help you file all correct paperwork, gather evidence, and make a strong case either in a settlement agreement or in a jury trial. Working with an expert gives you the best chance of success.

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