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If you were harmed by asbestos in the nation’s capital, you may be entitled to compensation through asbestos trust funds or settlements. A Washington D.C. mesothelioma lawyer can assist you in filing a lawsuit, accessing trust funds, and winning settlement agreements to get the compensation you deserve.
Washington D.C. is relatively small but has seen its share of asbestos-related illnesses. Industrial workers in the city were mainly exposed at job sites. Many construction workers were exposed to this dangerous mineral via heavy use in public, federal, and military buildings.
Public and Federal Buildings with Asbestos
Many buildings in Washington D.C. were built before 1980 when asbestos was still heavily used in construction. Due to the number of people who frequent them, public buildings in the District are of particular note for asbestos. If the materials in these older buildings are not maintained properly, materials could shed dangerous asbestos fibers into the air. Any renovation or demolition project could also affect people that work in these buildings.
People who work in construction or maintenance in these older buildings are particularly at risk of asbestos exposure. A 2007 report found that three out of ten men who worked in utility tunnels under Capitol Hill had been diagnosed with asbestosis. Four others were thought to have early signs of asbestosis. This medical investigation came after workers complained of dangerous work conditions that included asbestos. The tunnels had been deteriorating, exposing asbestos and causing it to shed sharp microscopic fibers. Workers were not provided respirators until 2006, and their complaints were not taken seriously until the medical report was released.
Washington D.C. is also home to many military bases constructed using asbestos, putting military men and women at risk of exposure. One example is the Washington Navy Yard. At one time, the Washington Navy Yard was a shipbuilding site but ultimately became an ordnance plant. U.S. Navy veterans have some of the highest rates of mesothelioma due to the extensive use of asbestos in ships. However, facilities like the Navy Yard also exposed the men and women who worked in them. Other military bases in the District have resulted in asbestos exposure for military members through construction materials.
Vermiculite Plants in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is best known for its political economy. However, the city is also home to an extensive industry. Industrial jobs are hotspots for asbestos use and exposure. One example in the District is vermiculite processing. The Vermiculite Products Company, located on Kenilworth Avenue, was a facility that once processed vermiculite from the W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana. For decades, this mine produced asbestos-laced vermiculite. Eventually, the hazards were realized, and operations halted, but not before extensive damage had been done.
Before the mine shut down, places like the Kenilworth Avenue facility received hundreds of thousands of tons of contaminated vermiculite. Workers who handled to manufacture things like insulation were put at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Residents who lived near these plants were also put in harm’s way. The D.C. plant used the exfoliation process to work with vermiculite, a heating process that increased the likelihood of exposure for its employees.
Other Sites in Washington D.C. Known to Have Asbestos
Although the city is not as large in terms of area, it has been a major site for asbestos use and exposure. Many federal buildings, public buildings, industrial workplaces, and military facilities have been known sites of asbestos exposure. Sites with documented asbestos include:
- Alexandria Power Plant
- Atlantic Perlite Company
- Bolling Air Force Base
- Naval Research Laboratory
- Treasury Department
- Department of Justice
- Washington Navy Yard
- Rock Creek Railway Company
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Agriculture
- State, War, and Navy Building
- District of Columbia Paper Company
- Potomac Electric Light and Power Company
Washington D.C. Asbestos Laws
Although the District of Columbia is the seat of the federal government, it also functions independently with its laws and regulations, including those that apply to asbestos. The city’s Department of Energy and Environment administers and enforces both District and federal regulations regarding asbestos. The District has an Asbestos Abatement Program that outlines safety measures for asbestos removal, keeping the public safe and ensuring contractors have permits for abatement jobs. Residences with fewer than five units are exempt from the rules.
Cancer and Mesothelioma Care in Washington D.C.
Mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, and asbestosis are serious illnesses that require specialized treatment. The National Cancer Institute designates comprehensive cancer centers, which are facilities with expert staff that engage in leading cancer research, and offer cutting-edge treatments. The Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University is the only facility in Washington D.C. that has this designation.
Statute of Limitations
Washington, D.C. has statutes of limitations on asbestos and related lawsuits. You have three years from the time of diagnosis to file a lawsuit. Additionally, if a loved one has died from an asbestos-related illness, you have just one year from the time of death to begin legal action.
Find a Washington D.C. Mesothelioma Lawyer
To make the most of the time available to start a lawsuit, you need the guidance of a Washington D.C. mesothelioma lawyer. Look for a legal team that has worked with other victims of asbestos exposure and has recovered damages for them. You need a lawyer that understands laws relating to asbestos and has experience winning cases. Your lawyer will allow you to rest while fighting 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.