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Idaho is home to naturally-occurring deposits of asbestos in the Rocky Mountains. The state had mines that produced asbestos for industrial applications. There have also been many workplaces over the years that exposed workers to asbestos. Asbestos exposure led to hundreds of deaths from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
People who suffered because of exposure to asbestos and resulting illnesses have turned to Idaho mesothelioma lawyers to get the justice they deserve. Some people are still at risk of asbestos exposure, even with current laws in place to protect people. Know the risks, avoid exposure, and find competent legal help if an employer or asbestos manufacturer is responsible for exposing you to asbestos.
Asbestos Exposure in Idaho
Idaho ranks in the middle of the 50 states for asbestos-related deaths. A natural mineral with a lot of desirable properties, asbestos has been mined for hundreds of years to be used for insulation, fireproofing, and other applications. It was in the middle of the last century that the dangers of asbestos became obvious. People who are exposed to it and inhale the fibers are at serious risk of becoming severely ill.
In Idaho, there have been hundreds of deaths over the last decade from lung cancer related to asbestos, from asbestosis, and mesothelioma. The exposure came mostly from industrial workplaces but also natural deposits, mines, and from naturally-occurring asbestos.
Mineral processing plants, chemical plants, power plants, manufacturing plants, and other kinds of industrial plants in Idaho used asbestos and exposed workers to it. Many workers got sick from the exposure, and in turn, worked with Idaho mesothelioma lawyers to get compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos and Mines
Idaho is a mountainous state with plenty of natural resources, including asbestos. The Rocky Mountain range has been a significant source of asbestos.
Natural deposits of asbestos, even when not mined, can cause harmful exposure. Tiny fibers are in the soil, which can lead to contaminated dust that residents in the area are exposed to and inhale. It can get into road materials that are kicked up into dust in the air. It can also contaminate other mined minerals. Workers can be exposed through the mining and processing of those contaminated minerals.
One major mine in Idaho that may have significantly contributed to asbestos exposure is the Kamia Asbestos Mine in the Maggie Creek District. The asbestos mine is no longer active but likely 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 are at risk of getting sick.
Industrial Asbestos Exposure
While mines can be an essential source of asbestos exposure, industrial workplaces have caused the majority of exposure in Idaho. Power plants, for instance, are work sites 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 companies in Idaho with a history of asbestos include:
- Boise Cascade Corporation, Boise
- Chandler Supply Company, Boise
- The 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 significant source of asbestos exposure in Idaho was the Western States Equipment Company. There were substantial amounts of asbestos in the massive machinery it produced and 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, first in a role painting parts and later as a mechanic working on asbestos-laden clutches and brakes on vehicles and machinery. The company now has an immense asbestos settlement trust set up to pay workers who became sick because of the asbestos exposure on the job.
Idaho Asbestos Laws
Idaho asbestos laws protect workers and residents from exposure to this harmful mineral. Any renovation or demolition of buildings that have asbestos must be reported to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) before proceeding.
Asbestos abatement from older buildings can only be done by workers who are trained and certified to work with asbestos. The state relies on the Environmental Protection Agency to certify and license asbestos abatement professionals.
The DEQ also works 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 had many 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 a community center and other businesses.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on asbestos-related lawsuits in Idaho is two years. Victims of exposure who become ill with a related disease have just two years after the time of diagnosis to file a lawsuit that could help them get compensation. Loved ones of victims of asbestos exposure also have only 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
Since plaintiffs have two years from diagnosis to begin a lawsuit, it is important to move fast. Working with an Idaho mesothelioma lawyer is of particular importance. With a knowledgeable professional, victims have the best possible guide to crafting a valid 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, contact an Idaho mesothelioma lawyer.
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.