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Connecticut has been hit hard over the last several decades by asbestos and related illnesses, like mesothelioma. Between 1999 and 2013, 563 people in the state died from mesothelioma and thousands more died from other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos. A history of industry, shipping and ports, and military and naval activity explain why Connecticut ranks 23rd out of the 50 states for deaths related to asbestos.
For these thousands of people who died from asbestos-related illnesses, and those who are just now getting sick from mesothelioma or asbestosis, Connecticut mesothelioma lawyers are fighting for justice. Those who are getting diagnosed today, as well as the loved ones of those who have already passed away, can rely on these professionals with the expertise to go after the companies and others responsible for exposing innocent workers and residents to dangerous asbestos in Connecticut.
Asbestos in Connecticut
Connecticut is a small state and much of it is rural, but it has also been an important industrial center. The state also has access to the Atlantic Ocean and a significant length of coastline along the Long Island Sound, which has made it an important maritime and naval area.
All of these different types of work sites—industrial plants, shipyards, ports, and naval bases—have historically used asbestos, often heavily. Asbestos is a mineral and it was used so often in shipping and industry because of its many useful properties: heat resistance, electrical resistance, fire proofing, and lightweight strength.
Manufacturing and industrial workplaces in the state’s larger cities of Waterbury, Danbury, and Hartford, have been sites of asbestos exposure in the past, while two military facilities have also exposed service men and women to this dangerous mineral over the years. Connecticut even has a Superfund site that is contaminated with various toxins, including asbestos.
Shipyards in Connecticut
A major source of asbestos in many locations in the state is in shipyards. The shipping industry has used asbestos more than nearly any other industry because the mineral is important for making ships safer without adding a lot of extra weight. Asbestos was used on nearly every part of a ship to insulate, but more importantly to prevent the spread of fire. Fire on board a ship at sea is deadly. Asbestos was also used on ships because it is lightweight, but can also add strength to materials, another property that is particularly important on ships.
Connecticut is home to numerous shipyards that used asbestos in the past. Workers in these facilities, whether they helped construct the ships, repaired them, or performed other job duties in the same facility, were put at risk of being exposed to asbestos and later becoming sick. Adding to the dangers of using asbestos in shipbuilding was the fact that workers were often doing their jobs in small spaces with little ventilation. They were at serious risk of inhaling asbestos fibers as a result.
Connecticut Industrial Centers and Asbestos
Many industrial work sites were also important sources of asbestos use and exposure. One major area for asbestos exposure in Connecticut, and resulting illnesses like mesothelioma, is the city of Waterbury. It has a long history of manufacturing, especially brass. The city was so well known for its quality brass that it was given the nickname “Brass City.”
Thousands of people worked in the brass industry in Waterbury and were unknowingly exposed to asbestos. Companies like American Brass Company, Anaconda Metal Hose, Chase Brass and Copper Company, and Somers Brass, among others put their workers at risk for decades.
Although it is not often associated with mining, Connecticut did have asbestos mines in the past, including one in Nepaug, near New Hartford. The mine did not last long, which may indicate that the asbestos deposit was small. This mine and other areas of naturally occurring asbestos in the state put both workers and residents at risk of exposure.
Military Asbestos Exposure in Connecticut
Military sites in Connecticut have also been guilty of asbestos exposure and resulting illness. Bradley Air National Guard headquarters in Granby, New London Naval Submarine Base, in Groton and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in new London have all been found to have asbestos.
The Air National Guard station used asbestos in planes and in the roofing of airplane hangars as well as many other materials in the facilities. At the Coast Guard Academy, professional asbestos abatement was conducted in 2008 to remove asbestos tiles and other materials from several buildings.
Military exposure has led to a number of lawsuits in Connecticut over asbestos-related illnesses and deaths. The widow of an Air National Guard veteran, for example, sued the Connecticut Air National Guard in a wrongful death suit, claiming that her husband was exposed during his service. She won her case. In a rare jury case the family of a firefighter that worked aboard a Navy aircraft carrier also won a wrongful death suit after he died from mesothelioma.
Other Known Sites of Asbestos Exposure in Connecticut
Many industrial, mining, and military sites in Connecticut are known to have contained asbestos and all of them put workers and others at risk of being exposed. Some of those who became sick as a result relied on a Connecticut mesothelioma lawyer to help get justice, but many others slipped through the cracks. Some of these locations include:
- General Electric Company, Bridgeport
- United Technologies, Hartford
- Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford
- Hartford Steam Boiler, Hartford
- F. Goodrich, Shelton
- Connecticut Light and Power, Shelton and Montville
Connecticut Asbestos Laws
Laws in the state relating to use and removal of asbestos fall under Connecticut’s Asbestos Program. The Program aims to reduce exposure to asbestos and to ensure that the material is removed safely. The Asbestos Program works with other groups to train and license contractors to abate asbestos and also ensures that all public and private school buildings are asbestos-free. The Asbestos Program is part of the Connecticut Department of Public Health. For those who work in asbestos abatement, there are numerous rules and guidelines that must be followed, including testing the air after work is complete.
Statute of Limitations
All states limit the time that a person has to file a lawsuit over asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. For Connecticut that statute of limitations is three years after a diagnosis. Mesothelioma can take decades to manifest symptoms, which is why it is important that the limit is set at the time of diagnosis, not the time of exposure to asbestos. For wrongful death lawsuits the statute of limitations is set at three years from the time of death.
Finding a Connecticut Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you’re facing an illness related to asbestos exposure, or you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related lung cancer, you have the right to sue the employer, company, or government that you believe is responsible for the exposure that occurred. If you choose to do so, make sure you work with a professional Connecticut mesothelioma lawyer. Find this professional by looking for lawyers or law firms that specialize in asbestos and mesothelioma laws. They will have the expertise needed to ensure that you have the best opportunity to get justice and compensation.
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.