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Although Mississippi only ranks in the middle of the 50 states for numbers of deaths related to asbestos, the state has seen hundreds of people die because of illnesses like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. The region along the Gulf of Mexico has been hardest hit by asbestos because of exposure through the oil refinery industry and in shipyards. Other industrial workplaces have also contributed to asbestos exposure in the state, as have natural disasters like hurricanes.
If you live in the state or have worked here and fear that your exposure to asbestos made you sick, you can rely on a Mississippi mesothelioma lawyer to provide you with the experience and expertise you need to make a strong case for compensation. A lawyer can help you win money through a settlement or through an asbestos trust fund.
Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been mined and used in many applications for literally thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 1970s when laws regarding its use caught up to the reality that it was making people sick. The heavy use of asbestos in buildings, industrial facilities, residences, military sites, and on ships beginning around the 1940s led to exposure that has sickened and killed thousands of people.
In Mississippi, the oil business, shipbuilding and ports, and old buildings have been some of the most significant sources of asbestos exposure. There are no known natural deposits of asbestos in the state, or asbestos mining, but the material brought into the state has caused incalculable harm.
Mississippi’s Oil Industry
With its strategic coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi has long been an important player in the oil industry. From drilling out in the Gulf to refining oil and petroleum products along the coastline, many residents of the state have made a living working in oil. Unfortunately, although the oil industry has brought a lot of jobs and money to the state, it is also an industry that has used a lot of asbestos over the years.
Oil refineries produce various products by processing petroleum and oil that comes through pipelines from the drilling platforms in the Gulf. This work requires a lot of heat, which means that to make facilities safe, fireproofing and insulating materials are important. Asbestos is well known for its ability to protect against fire and heat, so most refineries are full of asbestos. Working around these materials, especially if they have been damaged and the asbestos exposed, can be harmful to workers, especially those that work on repairs and maintenance.
Another important industry along the Gulf Coast is the maritime industry. Pascagoula, Gulfport, and other cities are major hubs for shipbuilding, and ships have long been built with asbestos. As with refineries, because it can protect against fire, asbestos has been heavily used on ships. Another reason it has been used so extensively in ships is because it is lightweight but can add strength to materials. Anyone in Mississippi who worked on or around ships was likely to have been exposed to asbestos.
One successful asbestos lawsuit in Mississippi was filed by a man who spent his career repairing ships for Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. He became ill from asbestos exposure and used the legal system and Mississippi mesothelioma lawyers to make his case form compensation. He won and was awarded nearly $1 million, although that amount was later reduced.
Asbestos and Hurricane Katrina
Industrial workplaces like oil refineries and shipyards along the Gulf Coast have caused the most asbestos-related damage in Mississippi, but there are still other sources of asbestos that have caused harm. Many older buildings throughout the state, for instance, contain asbestos that was used decades ago. It presents a risk now, because if those buildings are damaged, demolished, or renovated, the asbestos could become exposed.
This happened when hurricane Katrina hit the coast of Mississippi in 2005. Many of the buildings that were destroyed in the disaster were older and contained asbestos. The levels of asbestos left in the debris have been monitored by the national Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and were found to be higher than acceptable exposure limits. The storm harmed people in more ways than one, and those cleaning up the debris were at particular risk of being exposed to asbestos.
Sites in Mississippi with Known Asbestos
In addition to the numerous refineries and shipping areas on the coast of Mississippi, the state has been home to other worksites and buildings that are known to have contained asbestos and to have exposed workers and others. Some of these include:
- Wilson Power Plant, Vicksburg
- Lighten Shipyard, Pascagoula
- Chicago Bridge and Iron Shipyard, Pascagoula
- Regis Paper Company, Monticello
- Mississippi Gulf Refining Company, Purvis
- Kaiser Aluminum, Purvis
- Armstrong Cork Company, Jackson
- Greenville Mills, Greenville
- Transco Compression Station, Hattiesburg
- Shell Oil, Jackson
- Interstate Lumber Company, Biloxi
- Reichold Chemical, Gulfport
Asbestos Laws in Mississippi
In Mississippi, it is the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, that administers laws regarding the handling of asbestos. Workers that handle, abate, and dispose of asbestos must be licensed through the DEQ and any demolition or renovation projects involving asbestos have to be approved by the state. Asbestos removed from these projects can only be disposed of in approved landfills and have to be encapsulated and clearly labeled.
Statute of Limitations
If you have been exposed to asbestos on the job in Mississippi and you became sick from it, you may want to file a lawsuit against the party you believe to be negligent. You can do that in Mississippi, but there is a statute of limitations. You must file within the three years after you receive a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness, or it could be too late. For a loved one you lost to one of these illnesses, you have just three years from the time of death.
Working with a Mississippi Mesothelioma Lawyer
Your time is limited when it comes to filing lawsuits regarding asbestos, which is why it is important to find and work with a Mississippi mesothelioma lawyer that has the knowledge and experience you need. Filing a lawsuit without expert guidance is fraught with mistakes that are easy to make. Don’t let that ruin your chances of winning in court. Let a mesothelioma lawyer do the work for you, gather the evidence, advocate for you in a settlement or litigate for you in court. With this professional on your side, you have the best chance of winning justice.
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.