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Experienced and reliable Tennessee mesothelioma lawyers are ready to fight for justice for asbestos victims. Many residents and workers in Tennessee have been unjustly exposed to this mineral, which was heavily used in many industries, including construction. While older homes can pose a risk, workplace exposure has been the biggest cause of asbestos illnesses like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
Tennessee ranks high among the 50 states for the number of people who have died because of illnesses caused by ingesting or inhaling asbestos fibers. Between 1999 and 2013, there were nearly 4,000 such deaths, putting Tennessee in the top 20. Several factors can explain this from the use of asbestos in older buildings to the industrial workplaces that employ so many residents.
Asbestos in Tennessee
Tennessee has no natural asbestos or history of mining it. Still, it does have a long and rich history of industrial plants, especially energy and power generating plants, and it is this kind of workplace that has caused so much asbestos illness and exposure in the state. Asbestos is a harmful mineral, but also a useful one for a lot of applications. It can insulate against heat and protect against fire. So many industrial settings have used it in their buildings, equipment, machinery, and in some cases their products.
Another, lesser source of asbestos exposure in the state has been through older buildings. Before it became evident in the last century that asbestos was causing serious illnesses, it was heavily used in the construction of buildings. Now, older homes, schools, public buildings, and military facilities often contain old asbestos and time and damage can cause it to become exposed and fibers to get into the air where people may inhale it.
Natural Disasters and Asbestos Exposure
Tennessee often experiences tornados and floods that cause a huge amount of structural damage. Since a lot of older buildings contain asbestos, these events can damage old materials and spread harmful asbestos into the water, ground, and when it all dries out, into the air. A major disaster, like the Nashville flood of 2010, can put people at significant risk. When the event occurred, residents were warned to take care when cleaning up their yards and homes. Officials also urged them to call licensed asbestos abatement professionals to help if their homes built before the mid-1980s.
The Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, was started in the 1930s to open up economic development throughout the region. The TVA is federally-owned and is involved in electricity generation and power plants, making fertilizers and providing control for floods. The industrial facilities in which people worked for the TVA were responsible for many of the instances of asbestos exposure and illness for many decades.
Since the 1970s, when regulations on asbestos use were put in place, the TVA has been cleaning up many of its sites and removing asbestos, but it takes time. For instance, one plant, the John Sevier Fossil Plant, was closed in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2016 that a cleanup process began. Asbestos and many other hazardous substances have been removed.
Other Sites in Tennessee with Asbestos
Tennessee has had a lot of different industries helping the economy thrive. Many of these used asbestos in their facilities and caused exposure and illness. These include power plants, TVA manufacturing facilities, paper mills, and many others, but also older buildings and public buildings. Some of these are:
- Virginia Iron, Coal, and Coke Company, Bristol
- Allied Chemical Plant, Chattanooga
- Calhoun Paper Mill, Calhoun
- Mead Paper Company, Kingsport
- Crump Lime and Cement, Memphis
- Atomic Energy Commission Plant, Oak Ridge
- Lookout Boiler Company, Chattanooga
- Tennessee Valley Authority, Gallatin
- Union Carbide, Oak Ridge
- Arnold Air Force Station, Tullahoma
- Vanderbilt University, Nashville
- United States Naval Air Station, Millington
- Knoxville Power Plant, Knoxville
Tennessee Asbestos Laws
In Tennessee, the Department of Environment and Conservation is responsible for managing and administering federal and state laws regarding asbestos and for keeping residents in the state as safe as possible from the harms of asbestos. Training through the state is required to certify contractors to work with asbestos, although homeowners are not restricted from working on asbestos in their own homes.
Contractors must notify the state ten days in advance when the area of asbestos is in more than 160 square feet of a building or 260 linear feet of pipes in projects for abatement. The contractor and owner of the property must also both keep a record of the asbestos materials removed and taken away for disposal.
Cancer and Mesothelioma Care in Tennessee
Tennessee is home to two comprehensive cancer centers as designated by the National Cancer Institute. These are facilities that are considered to be the best for cancer care and are great options for seeking treatment for mesothelioma or lung cancer after asbestos exposure. These facilities have cutting edge treatments, experienced physicians and specialists, and are conducting groundbreaking cancer research: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Lawsuits
If you were exposed to asbestos in Tennessee and you hope to file a lawsuit in the state to seek damages for your resulting illness or justice for a lost loved one, you need to move fast. The state has set a statute of limitations of just one year on asbestos lawsuits. You have one year after the time you were diagnosed to file a lawsuit against those you believe to be negligent. You have one year from the time of death of a family member from an asbestos illness to start a wrongful death case.
Find and Work with a Tennessee Mesothelioma Lawyer
With such a pressing and the short time limit on filing lawsuits, and since the legal system is complicated and difficult to navigate, you should enlist the help of a Tennessee mesothelioma lawyer. An expert asbestos attorney will help you start the lawsuit, complete all the necessary paperwork, and advocate on your behalf. Your lawyer is an important part of your mesothelioma team, so choose your legal counsel thoughtfully, and consider working with someone who has a proven track record of helping other Tennessee asbestos victims.
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.