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Idaho is home to naturally occurring deposits of asbestos in the Rocky Mountains, and has even had mines that produced asbestos. The state has also seen numerous industries and workplaces that exposed workers to asbestos over the years. That asbestos exposure has led to hundreds of deaths from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.

Residents of the state who suffered because of exposure to asbestos and resulting illness have turned to Idaho mesothelioma lawyers to get the justice they deserve. Even with current laws in place to protect people, some are still at risk for asbestos exposure and becoming sick because of it. It is important for residents and workers to understand the risks, avoid exposure, and to find good legal help in the event that an employer or company is responsible for an asbestos-related illness.

Asbestos Exposure in Idaho

Idaho ranks in the middle of the 50 states for deaths related to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been mined for hundreds of years to be used for insulation, fireproofing, and other applications. It wasn’t until the middle of the last century that it became obvious how harmful asbestos could be. People who are exposed to it and inhale the fibers are put at serious risk of becoming sick, often severely so after many years.

In Idaho, there have been hundreds of deaths over the last decade from lung cancer related to asbestos, from mesothelioma, and from asbestosis. That exposure has come from natural deposits, mines, and from naturally-occurring asbestos, but mostly from industrial workplaces. Mineral processing plants, chemical plants, manufacturing plants, power plants, and other kinds of industrial plants in the state used asbestos and exposed workers to it. Some of those workers got sick from the exposure and some worked with Idaho mesothelioma lawyers to get compensation for medical bills and other expenses.

Naturally Occurring Asbestos and Mines

The Rocky Mountains range is one location in the U.S. that has been a major source of asbestos, both major sites that have been mined and more minor deposits that contaminate other mines or just areas of soil. Natural deposits of asbestos can cause harmful exposure because the fibers may be in the soil, which can lead to contaminated dust that residents in an area is exposed to and inhales. It may get into road materials that are kicked up into dust in the air. It may also contaminate other mined minerals. Mining and processing of those contaminated minerals can then also cause exposure, especially to workers.

One major mine in Idaho that may have significantly contributed to asbestos exposure was the Kamia Asbestos Mine in the Maggie Creek District. This is a former asbestos mine, which is no longer active, but which probably exposed many workers to dangerous fibers over the years. Any residents in the surrounding area may also have been exposed over the years of mining and put at risk of getting sick.

Industrial Asbestos Exposure

While mines can be a source of asbestos exposure, industrial workplaces have likely been the major sources of exposure in Idaho. Power plants, for instance, are worksites that often use asbestos and have a high potential for exposing workers. The Pocatello, Idaho hydroelectric power plant is known to have used asbestos in the machinery and equipment. The site may also have asbestos in the air and soil. The Monsanto Chemical plant and Idaho Chemical are also known to have had asbestos in the workplace. Other worksites in Idaho with asbestos include:

  • Boise Cascade Corporation, Boise
  • Chandler Supply Company, Boise
  • United States Atomic Energy Commission, Idaho Falls
  • Waters Asbestos & Supply, Idaho Falls
  • Western Steel, Arco
  • Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Scoville
  • Phillips Petroleum Company, Scoville
  • Union Pacific Railroad Company, Pocatello
  • Carnation Milk Products Company, Nampa

Western States Asbestos Trust and Lawsuits

A major source of asbestos exposure in Idaho was the Western States Equipment Company. It used asbestos in the large machinery it produced and in the equipment the workers used. The company continued to expose workers to harmful levels of asbestos even after the federal regulations on asbestos went into effect in the 1970s.

A former employee of Western States filed a lawsuit against the company after developing mesothelioma. He worked for the company for two different periods of time, once painting parts and later as a mechanic working on asbestos-laden clutches and brakes on machinery and vehicles. The company now has an asbestos settlement trust to pay workers who became sick because of the asbestos exposure on the job.

Idaho Asbestos Laws

Asbestos laws in Idaho are designed to protect workers and residents from the dangers of exposure. Any demolition or renovation of buildings that have asbestos must be reported to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) before proceeding. Abatement of asbestos from older buildings must only be done by workers who are certified and trained to work with asbestos. The state relies on the Environmental Protection Agency to certify and license asbestos abatement professionals.

The DEQ also works with the public to clean up contaminated sites, often older buildings, that contain harmful asbestos. For instance, the DEQ sought public comment before initiating a cleanup of the Pocatello power plant. The facilities contained a number of toxins, including lead-based paint, but also a lot of asbestos in the interior spaces. The plan was to clean the site so that it could be used for other businesses and a community center. The state wanted to hear what the public had to say about the planned cleanup before going forward with it.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations on asbestos-related lawsuits in Idaho is two years. Victims of exposure who become ill as a result have just two years after the time of diagnosis to file a lawsuit that could help them get compensation for all kinds of expenses, including medical bills or pain and suffering. Loved ones of victims of asbestos exposure also have just two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The two year period begins at the time of death from an asbestos-related condition.

Working with an Idaho Mesothelioma Lawyer

Because exposure victims have just two years to begin a lawsuit, it is important to move fast after a diagnosis or the loss of a loved one. This is why working with an Idaho mesothelioma lawyer is of particular importance. In working with a knowledgeable professional, victims have the best possible guide to crafting an effective lawsuit and a case against a negligent employer or manufacturer of asbestos materials. If you have become sick because of asbestos exposure and you believe someone is negligent, you can make your case with a lawsuit and the help of an Idaho mesothelioma lawyer.

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