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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 related to asbestos. Mines, natural deposits, oil drilling, natural gas extraction, military installations, and industrial facilities can be blamed for much of 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 exposed to 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. Mining and gas and oil extraction have long been important industries in the state. Along with other economically important 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 living near the deposit. It can get into the air and homes and cause illness. Many buildings and public works projects, such as building new roads, can disturb asbestos found naturally in the ground. Airborne fibers permeate in the air and can 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, constructed in 1950 during the heyday of asbestos use. The mineral was used extensively throughout the facility. As a power plant that generated heat, companies mainly used asbestos in insulation.
For decades, workers at the Estes Power Plant faced asbestos exposure. Any time materials containing asbestos were moved or disturbed, fibers became loose and entered the air where workers could inhale them. In 2011, abatement began at the facility. Thousands of square feet of plaster and insulation had to be removed at a high cost to make the site safer.
Western Minerals Company
The Western Minerals Company operated a vermiculite processing plant in Denver. The area around the plant has had some of the highest asbestos exposure and death rates in the state. Vermiculite is often contaminated with asbestos. Vermiculite processed in Denver came from the W.R. Grace vermiculite mines in Libby, Montana. W.R. Grace is a site known for its heavy asbestos contamination.
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 asbestos exposure. Further, soil samples from the site showed asbestos still 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 in Denver that have been documented to have contained asbestos that put workers and their families at risk. Some of these workers got sick with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis, and many have since died. 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
- The 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
Colorado asbestos laws 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. If asbestos is found, it must be removed by a licensed professional.
For public buildings, the state requires that a permit be retained before any asbestos removal. Except for private residences, written notification must be 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 law allows you time to make your claim even if you don’t get a diagnosis until decades after initial contact with asbestos.
There is also a statute of limitations on wrongful death cases related to asbestos, which is also two years. Loved ones have two years from the time of death of a family member 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. 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 think you may have a case related to 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 an experienced Colorado mesothelioma lawyer. Choose 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.
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.