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Vermont is a relatively small state with a small population. Therefore, it makes sense that the death toll from asbestos-related illnesses would not be as high as other states. However, several hundred Vermonters have died from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer in recent years. Because Vermont’s economy is more rural than industrial, residents have been spared excessive asbestos exposure that people in other states have experienced.
For residents exposed to asbestos who got sick as a result, Vermont mesothelioma lawyers are ready and waiting to help. These law experts can guide victims of asbestos exposure through the legal process of filing a lawsuit and seeking compensation through trust funds and settlements.
Asbestos Mining in Vermont
The mountainous state of Vermont is rich in natural resources. This includes a variety of minerals, one of which is asbestos. Asbestos is a group of minerals, all comprised of tiny fibers. Some types are more harmful than others. Asbestos fibers can easily become airborne or get mixed into soil or water, causing people to inhale or ingest them accidentally. Mining is an activity that stirs up asbestos fibers and puts both workers and nearby residents at risk of exposure.
Vermont has seven former asbestos prospects. Although the state has also had three operating asbestos mines, those mines are now closed. In addition to those operating mines, there are 12 other known asbestos deposits in the state. Construction in these areas could potentially disturb these natural deposits and contaminate air and soil in the area.
A few of the now-shuttered asbestos mines continue to put people in the state at risk of asbestos exposure. These sites were abandoned, leaving behind a toxic dump that includes significant amounts of asbestos. One of these was the mine at Belvidere Mountain in Eden and Lowell, owned by the Vermont Asbestos Group. The mine shut down in 1993, later than others in the state. Unfortunately, the owners left the mine in an unusable state, claiming insufficient funds for a cleanup.
As a result, the state of Vermont sued the company. In 2013, the two parties finally reached an agreement. The Vermont Asbestos Group was given ten years to come up with $50,000 to clean up the former mine site. The site includes 650 acres of quarries, piles of hazardous materials, and significant amounts of asbestos. In the meantime, the company is responsible for maintaining the site and preventing hazardous materials from contaminating the nearby environment.
Libby Vermiculite in Vermont
Vermont’s asbestos problems have not been limited to material mined in the state. Facilities in Vermont were recipients of vermiculite mined in Libby, Montana at the W.R. Grace mine. This mine produced hundreds of thousands of tons of vermiculite, which was largely used to manufacture insulation. Decades later, it was determined that the vermiculite from that source was contaminated with asbestos. While this meant thousands of people in Libby were contaminated, it also meant people around the country working in or living near the vermiculite processing facilities were also exposed.
Power Plants and Other Industrial Exposure
In Vermont, as in other states, nearly every industrial workplace once used asbestos, putting workers and others at risk of exposure. Vermont has never had a hugely industrial economy, but there are several facilities in the state that have caused workers to be exposed. Power plants account for much of the exposure because they used asbestos to insulate their facilities. Textile and paper mills also used asbestos in buildings, machinery, equipment, and even safety gear workers. Some workers may have handled asbestos directly during the manufacturing process.
Other Sites in Vermont with Asbestos
Although asbestos exposure has not been as high in Vermont as other states, many people were exposed during asbestos’s heyday. These are just a few known sites with asbestos in the state:
- Albans Electric Light and Power Company, St. Albans
- Consolidated Light and Power Company, Montpelier
- Black Cat Textiles, Bennington
- Green Mountain Paper, Bellows Falls
- International Paper Company, Bellows Falls
- White Mountain Paper Company, Bellows Falls
- Green Mountain College, Rutland
- Central Vermont Railways, St. Albans
- Vermont Marble, Rutland
Vermont’s Asbestos Laws
Vermont’s Department of Health keeps Vermont residents safe from asbestos my administering laws and regulations set by the federal and state governments. For example, the Department oversees the certification of asbestos abatement professionals and inspectors for all projects in the state. An inspector must be on-site before any project begins that could involve asbestos. Professionals who remove asbestos from old buildings are required to notify the Department of projects at least ten days in advance.
Statute of Limitations
Victims of asbestos exposure, who develop illnesses like mesothelioma and lung cancer, have a right in Vermont to sue those parties they believe to be negligent. However, there is a statute of limitations in Vermont. A lawsuit must be filed within three years of the diagnosis of a related illness when a diagnosis should reasonably have been made. This means if you get sick, you have no time to lose in getting a diagnosis and taking legal action. If you lose a loved one to one of these illnesses, you have two years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Finding and Working with a Vermont Mesothelioma Lawyer
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating. This is a serious illness that is difficult to treat. Most people were exposed to asbestos unknowingly or without realizing the risks. Those responsible are now being forced to pay. Although you can fight for the justice you deserve, having an experienced professional on your side is essential. Let us help you find a Vermont mesothelioma lawyer, so you get the best possible chance of winning your case. While you focus on treatment, your lawyer will be your advocate, taking action on your behalf.
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.