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Delaware is a small state and has just one site of naturally occurring asbestos, but it is also home industrial sources of asbestos that have contaminated workplaces and put workers and residents in nearby areas at risk for developing serious illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Hundreds of people in this small state have died from these diseases related to asbestos exposure.
By far the biggest cause of exposure to asbestos and resulting illness in Delaware has been on the job. Numerous workplaces in the state, mostly industrial plants, have made victims of workers. These workers can rely on Delaware mesothelioma lawyers to help them sue employers or makers of asbestos-containing products to get justice and the compensation the need to pay for medical bills.
Industrial Asbestos Exposure in Delaware
Delaware has a long history of industrial workplaces, and many of those have contained asbestos and put workers at risk. While modern regulations have made working in industrial plants and other workplaces safer, asbestos still poses a risk and workers from the past are still suffering from the results of being exposed to asbestos.
Chemical manufacturing has long been an important industry in Delaware. Large, well-known companies like Dow and DuPont, as well as smaller chemical manufacturers like Atlas Chemical Industries, General Chemical Corporation, Allied Chemical, Helix Associates, and others, have had or currently still have facilities in the state. All have a history of using asbestos. Plant operators and machinists, especially those who worked in the boiler rooms of chemical plants, were at increased risk of asbestos exposure.
Another important source of asbestos exposure in Delaware was at a small vermiculite processing plant. Vermiculite is a natural mineral that is mined and processed for many uses and that often comes out of the ground contaminated with asbestos. One of the most contaminated vermiculite mines was the W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana.
Workers at that mine, as well as thousands of nearby residents, were exposed to the contaminating asbestos for decades. The disaster of the Libby mine spread around the country because W.R. Grace supplied processing plants with vermiculite in several states, including Delaware. A small plant in Wilmington processed Libby vermiculite from the 1940s through the 1990s.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Delaware
Most dangerous asbestos exposure occurs through workplaces such as industrial plants, but naturally occurring asbestos can also pose a risk. Delaware has one deposit of asbestos, which is located in New Castle County. It is a geographic area known as the Mount Cuba Serpentine body and it covers a couple of square miles.
The asbestos at this site is part of natural deposits of other minerals like talc. While the asbestos has never been mind, it still poses a danger to residents. Development projects, like building new roads, can disturb the asbestos and send the fibers airborne, where they can be inhaled by anyone in the area.
Known Sites of Asbestos Exposure
In addition to chemical plants and naturally occurring deposits, there have been many other facilities in Delaware that are known to have contained asbestos and to have potentially exposed workers and others. Although the state is small, it has several industrial workplaces, and these have put people at risk of mesothelioma and other illnesses:
- Abex Corporation, New Castle,
- American Brake Shoe Company, New Castle
- Dover Air Force Base, Dover
- Dravo Shipyard, Wilmington
- Texaco Refining Company, Delaware City
- Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Newark
- Scott Paper Company, Dover
- Georgia Pacific, Wilmington
- Phoenix Steel Corporation, Claymont
- Westinghouse Electric Company, Claymont
- Wilmington Iron Works, Wilmington
Delaware Asbestos Laws
Laws in Delaware related to asbestos are focused on the safe removal and abatement of it as well as making sure public buildings and schools are safe and that any demolition or renovation work on buildings takes asbestos into consideration. The state requires that anyone abating asbestos be licensed through the state and that the removal and disposal of asbestos is done following strict rules and guidelines.
Asbestos workers must also keep careful records of all work related to asbestos and submit it to the state if requested. The state follows all federal laws regarding air quality and workplace safety as set by the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits in Delaware
Many people in the state have chosen to work with Delaware mesothelioma lawyers to sue employers and manufacturers of asbestos products. In one notable case a jury awarded a group of insulation workers $2.5 million in 1990. The workers claimed to have become sick from asbestos exposure while working at the Texaco refinery in Delaware City. The workers had spent years removing and installing asbestos insulation as contract workers. The judge reduced the jury award, but the victims still received significant financial compensation.
In 2011 the Delaware Supreme Court awarded a family over $1 million in a wrongful death suit over the deaths of a mother and son from pleural mesothelioma. They had been exposed to asbestos through their family auto mechanic shop and their family sued the manufacturer of the clutches and gaskets they had used in their work over the years. These components contained asbestos and it was working with these that caused them to develop mesothelioma.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits
In Delaware the statute of limitations on suing a company or manufacturer over asbestos illnesses is two years from the time of diagnosis. Wrongful death cases related to asbestos are also limited to two years after the time of death. These limits mean that people who are victims of asbestos exposure need to work quickly to gather information and file a lawsuit for compensation.
Working with a Delaware Mesothelioma Lawyer
The best way to ensure that you do not miss out on your opportunity to get compensation because of Delaware’s statute of limitations is to work with a Delaware mesothelioma lawyer. Seek out an experienced and expert lawyer or law firm as soon as possible after a death or diagnosis. Let this legal professional help you gather all the necessary evidence, make a strong case, advocate for you, and either reach a settlement or win a jury-awarded verdict.
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.