Louisiana Mesothelioma Lawyer
The death toll from asbestos-related illnesses in Louisiana is high because of the exposure that has occurred in some of the state’s biggest industries. Oil refineries, ports, and shipyards are some of the most common places that workers experienced asbestos exposure. Louisiana also saw exposure from asbestos because of vermiculite processing and after natural disasters like hurricane Katrina.
Some of the victims of asbestos exposure in the state have become severely sick with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis. Many of these people will die from these illnesses. The victims or their loved ones may turn to a Louisiana mesothelioma lawyer to help make a case against the parties responsible for the asbestos exposure. With this professional on their side, these people can make a strong case for getting justice and compensation.
Asbestos in Louisiana
Asbestos is a harmful mineral that has been, and still is, used in a number of industries because of its properties of being cheap, abundant, lightweight, and heat and fire proof. In Louisiana, as in any other state, any older building is likely to have asbestos in it. Regulations set in the 1970s limited how asbestos could be used and who could work with it and how, but buildings built before that time may have asbestos in the insulation, roofing, ceilings, drywall compound, flooring tiles, and in many other places.
While exposure through older buildings and homes is possible, the major source of asbestos exposure in Louisiana has been on the job. Workers in a variety of industries have been exposed to asbestos because it was used in the construction of facilities and often in the materials and products that workers made and worked with. Manufacturing plants, power plants, chemical plants, oil refineries, shipyards, and many more work sites used asbestos and harmed workers through exposure.
Oil Refining, Shipping, and Ports
Because of its strategic coastline on the Gulf of Mexico, two of Louisiana’s biggest industries are oil and shipping. Unfortunately for workers in these industries, these are also two types of workplaces that are likely to lead to asbestos exposure. Oil refineries line the coast of Louisiana, processing the oil and petroleum that is drilled from the Gulf of Mexico floor. Refineries involve a lot of heat and fire, which can be dangerous, so these facilities were built with asbestos to protect workers. Nearly all the pipelines leading to and from refineries in the state were insulated with asbestos materials.
The coastline has also made Louisiana an important shipping state. Shipyards and ports are major sites of asbestos use. Ships have always used a lot of asbestos because it is lightweight and it protects against fire. Fireproofing ships without adding weight is crucial for safety, but also puts workers at risk of becoming sick from exposure to asbestos.
Mining is always a risky job, and workers can be exposed to asbestos even if the mine is not an asbestos mine. An example in Louisiana is salt mining. There are multiple salt mines in the state, owned by Cargill, Morton, and others. These companies mined salt and then purified and processed it. Asbestos was a component used in the processing of the salt and numerous workers were exposed to asbestos while working in these facilities. Many of them became sick with respiratory illnesses as a result.
W.R. Grace and Libby Vermiculite
The notorious Libby, Montana vermiculite mine that was owned and operated for decades by W.R. Grace, produced hundreds of thousands of tons of minerals contaminated with asbestos. The company shipped that vermiculite around the country for processing. There was one large facility in New Orleans that processed this contaminated vermiculite. Workers were exposed to asbestos here and put at risk of getting sick. Residents in the area were also put at risk because the fibers contaminated the surrounding area.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report on the New Orleans vermiculite facility in 2005. It found that between 70 and 90 former workers were known to have been exposed to asbestos there. The county in which the facility is located is also the area in the state that has the highest rate of deaths related to asbestos.
After Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was devastating to New Orleans for a number of reasons, but one often overlooked is asbestos. The winds and flooding destroyed many older buildings and left asbestos exposed in the wake of the storm. First responders had to sort through rubble that likely exposed them to damaged asbestos. When the water receded and the ground and debris dried out, damaged asbestos was left behind, with fibers that could easily become airborne or contaminate the ground or water.
Sites with Known Asbestos Exposure in Louisiana
There are many job sites and public buildings in the state of Louisiana that have been documented to have contained asbestos and to have potentially or actually exposed workers or residents to asbestos. Some of these include:
- Dow Chemical Company, Plaquemine
- Avondale Shipyard, Avondale
- Esso Standard Oil Company, Baton Rouge
- Louisiana Power and Light Company, New Orleans and Westwego
- Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, Baton Rouge
- Exxon Refinery, Baton Rouge
- Todd Shipyard, New Orleans
- Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
- Freeport Sulphur Company, Harvey
- Morton Salt Company, Weeks Island
Louisiana Asbestos Laws
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for administering asbestos regulations and ensuring federal rules are followed. Rules include that the state and department must be notified prior to any work being done with asbestos, such as building renovations or abatement projects. The projects can only be done by professionals who have trained and been certified to work with asbestos, and any asbestos removed that is friable has to be wetted and disposed of in a licensed waste facility.
Statute of Limitations
Victims of asbestos exposure have just one year from the time of diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness to file a lawsuit. If you were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma, another type of cancer, or asbestosis, you have to act fast after getting your diagnosis. If you have a loved one who died from one of these illnesses, you also have just one year according to the statute of limitations for the state to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Find a Louisiana Mesothelioma Lawyer
The short statute of limitations on lawsuits and wrongful death cases means that if you or someone you love has been harmed by asbestos exposure, your time to take action is limited. You need to work with a Louisiana mesothelioma lawyer to be sure that you don’t miss deadlines and that you are able to gather evidence and make a strong case in a limited amount of time. It can be done, but without the help of an experienced legal professional, it may be very challenging. A lawyer or legal team with the right knowledge will be your best chance of getting the best possible outcome from legal action.
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