In the 1960s the first diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer was linked to asbestos exposure. It is estimated that between the 1940s and late 70s, about 10 million people were exposed to asbestos in products, buildings, homes, workplaces and more. Although asbestos use is minimal now, about 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year as a result of the growing use of asbestos in decades prior.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in insulation and roofing as well as in the automotive and shipbuilding industry. Its use was widespread because its fibers were resistant to fire and chemicals.
Asbestos Mining in Georgia
Georgia was one of the first states to mine asbestos, which started in the Sall Mountain region. More recently, the state has made many efforts to control asbestos litigation in the past decade. Claimants are now required to prove that asbestos substantially contributed to their mesothelioma diagnosis, but if a claimant can do so to the level of proof needed, those who were exposed to asbestos on a regular basis for an extended period of time are likely to have a valid claim.
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) estimates that dozens of industries are known for past exposure of workers to asbestos. Some of the most common occupations in which employees might have been subjected to asbestos exposure include:
- Railroad workers
- Cleaning and custodial services
- School teachers
- Refinery workers
- Warehouse employees
In Georgia, some specific job sites and companies associated with asbestos exposure include:
- Wallace Mine
- Babcock-Wilcox Plant
- Keebler Co.
- Fort Benning
Companies that actually produced asbestos, such as Georgia Pacific and Sall Mountain Asbestos Co. face hundreds of lawsuits. Georgia-Pacific is among a few companies that have reportedly paid out more than $650 million in claims since the 1980s.
Many employees of various businesses might have had either direct or indirect exposure to asbestos. For example, those at Georgia-Pacific and Sall Mountain were directly exposed to the dangerous raw product. However, teachers and veterans, for example, may have been exposed to asbestos in materials making up their work environment. In some cases, those who worked in buildings where asbestos was used as a fire retardant or insulation may be eligible to file a premises liability claim if the building owner failed to warn about the risks in asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Side Effects
Asbestos is primarily known for causing mesothelioma, a serious form of cancer that unfortunately takes years to develop. The cancer is often diagnosed much too late, which leads to high mortality rates.
Since mesothelioma can take years to develop, many lawsuits stemming from exposure in the 1970s and 1980s are just now beginning.
Other conditions such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, thickening of the membranes surrounding the lungs and other lung conditions have been linked to asbestos exposure.
Unfortunately, some victims may not have realized they were indirectly or directly exposed to asbestos, which means testing for mesothelioma is not completed until the cancer has fully developed.
Anyone who believes they could have been injured due to asbestos should contact an attorney for assistance. Whether you have a premises liability claim, workplace injury claim or another type of legal claim, an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can help you make sense of your legal options.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that about 25 percent of workplace deaths from 1990 to 1999 were related to disease linked to asbestos exposure. Though nothing can be done to reverse exposure to such a dangerous product, a lawyer can help you fight for the justice you deserve. Our attorneys have years of experience and are ready to stand up to the large corporations who exposed you or your loved one to asbestos.
Tate Law Group has had long experience in representing clients in Savannah and across Georgia. Contact us today for advice or a consult if you think you might have an issue with mesothelioma or asbestos-related diseases.