Although asbestos and asbestos containing products are highly regulated in the U.S., currently there is no widespread ban in place. Over 50 nations around the world have banned asbestos, yet other countries (China, India, Russia, and Brazil, for example) continue to expand its use. Clearly, the battle against asbestos exposure is ongoing.
As a matter of fact, there are numerous incidents of asbestos-related cases in the U.S. From industries to school buildings, here is a brief sampling of some of them. As a asbestos removal service company serving Golden CO and many other Denver area locations, we thought it important to present several case studies on asbestos – some of which are still in progress.
Case Study One: SHIPYARD INDUSTRY
Plaintiff Krutz filed a lawsuit in Louisiana state court on April 29, 2020, against several defendants, including Amchem (a product manufacturer), because of his alleged asbestos exposures. Krutz began working for the Avondale Shipyard in 1968 as an interior communications electrician. He testified that during his forty-year career with Avondale, he worked on commercial and naval vessels, performing installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical cable components throughout the ships. Krutz alleged that he was exposed to asbestos on numerous occasions while working for Avondale.
Krutz died on November 9, 2020, allegedly as the result of mesothelioma. After his death, an amended complaint was filed, asserting an additional claim for wrongful death under Louisiana law. On June 8, 2021, the plaintiffs’ survival action against Amchem was dismissed without prejudice. Basically, Amchem argued successfully that there was insufficient proof that Krutz was exposed to their asbestos products and that any exposure that may have occurred was insignificant.
Case Study Two: PUBLIC SCHOOLS
A 2018 investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that teachers and children at Lewis C. Cassidy Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania were exposed to alarmingly high levels of asbestos. Testing found that one area of a classroom contained 4 million asbestos fibers per square centimeter, “50 times higher than the highest result for settled asbestos dust found indoors in apartments near ground zero after the 9/11 terror attacks.”
While asbestos hazards in schools—like at Cassidy Elementary—are a widespread problem, it is difficult to know the full extent of the issue since the last known systematic survey of asbestos performed in schools nationwide was done 40 years ago by the EPA. Concerns are largely the burden of parents and teachers, who must pressure schools on environmental safety issues.
For example, in Malibu Beach, California in 2013 twenty-one teachers reported various health problems after the renovation of Malibu Beach High School. After parents pressured school officials about the issue, classes were relocated, and testing was performed. But a group of parents remained unsatisfied and continued to press for environmental safety, largely through initiating a media war. They were successful, but the need for action to ensure children’s safety in school settings remains.
Case Study Three: STATES WITH THE HIGHEST MESOTHELIOMA RISK
Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer directly linked to prolonged asbestos exposure. These states represent the highest number of incidents of this deadly disease.
- Asbestos is a plentiful naturally occurring mineral here and has been used on jobsites throughout the state.
- Between 1999 and 2015, 4,295 residents died from mesothelioma.
- California has a high mesothelioma death rate, about 11 per million each year.
- Yuba and Siskiyou Counties are among the 50 counties in the U.S. with the highest mesothelioma death rates.
- Naturally occurring asbestos has been found in 45 of 58 California counties.
- High-risk industries in California include shipyards, the oil industry, power plants, and mining.
- People who have spent a significant amount of time in Florida could be at risk for asbestos exposure.
- Between 1999 and 2015, 2,801 Florida residents died from mesothelioma.
- Florida’s mesothelioma death rate is 9 people per million, slightly above average.
- This is one of the few states with no known naturally occurring asbestos deposits.
- Union and Gadsden Counties have the highest mesothelioma mortality rates.
- High-risk industries in Florida include shipyards, power plants, agriculture (especially sugar cane processing), and oil platforms.
- There are many places in New York City and Upstate New York where residents, workers, and vacationers may have been exposed to asbestos.
- Between 1999 and 2015, approximately 2,354 New York residents died from mesothelioma.
- New York’s mesothelioma death rate is 7.2 people per million, slightly above average.
- Naturally occurring asbestos deposits have been located in at least 23 locations throughout the state.
- Industrial areas like Western New York and large metropolitan cities report the highest mesothelioma mortality rates.
- Western Pennsylvania is noted for steel production in Pittsburgh, while Philadelphia has been home to textile, locomotive, and shipping industries (among others).
- Between 1999 and 2015, approximately 2,779 Pennsylvania residents died from mesothelioma.
- Pennsylvania’s mesothelioma death rate is 13 people per million, the second-highest in the country.
- There are at least 14 asbestos deposits or mines in Pennsylvania.
- The highest mortality rates from mesothelioma are in the areas surrounding Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
- Asbestos is used in many industries within the state of Texas, leading to high mesothelioma and asbestos-related deaths.
- Between 1999 and 2015, 2,191 Texas residents died from mesothelioma.
- The mortality rate in Texas is approximately 5 per million people annually.
- There are 8 asbestos sites in Texas, including 2 mines.
- Two counties, Orange and Jefferson, experienced higher mesothelioma death rates than any other county from 2000 to 2009 – approximately 25 and 22 people per million annually, respectively.
The link between life-threatening illnesses and asbestos has been clearly established. If you work in an industry where asbestos exposure is likely, follow the safety protocols, wear the required personal protective equipment, and check in with your doctor routinely. If you are living with asbestos in your home, become informed about how to deal with the situation.
If you suspect asbestos in your home, or if you’re planning a renovation soon, give Paragon Environmental a call. Prompt service by our asbestos contractors is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Give us a call at 303-529-1257 for more information or to schedule an appointment.