As states with high asbestos risks and per capita numbers of asbestos-related illnesses, Arkansas is below the national average. Arkansas rates as number thirty on the list of American states with asbestos repercussions.
However, Arkansas has a disproportionately large amount of mesothelioma lawsuit cases compared to other asbestos-caused disease litigations like lung cancer, asbestosis and related pleural disorders.
Asbestos was widely used across Arkansas from the 1920s to the 1980s when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) tightened regulations to reduce workplace asbestos exposure. For many Arkansas citizens, that was too little too late. Now, many ill asbestos exposure victims in Arkansas search for mesothelioma lawyers to claim compensation and damages from negligent asbestos companies.
Some medical and legal experts speculate that certain lifestyle and workplace factors may have been unusually active in Arkansas. There were only two active asbestos mining regions in the state. Both mines were in the western area around Hot Springs and Russellville, and they produced small amounts of asbestos raw materials compared to some of the bigger asbestos-producing states.
Arkansas was a highly industrial state during that peak asbestos-use period. Arkansas was also one of the lowest income states in America. The cheap labor pool made Arkansas economically attractive for manufacturers who used asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in their products. Arkansas was also seen as an excellent place for energy production like power plants and oil refineries. Asbestos was installed in every Arkansas building during that time. That included Arkansas factories, hospitals, schools and private homes.
Asbestos Use in Arkansas
It’s fair to say that virtually no industry, facility or building operating in Arkansas during the early to mid-twentieth-century was free of asbestos products. Back then, asbestos was thought to be the ideal material for industrial and construction use. Asbestos had tremendous heat-resistance and thermal insulating properties. It wouldn’t burn under any conditions making asbestos perfect for high-heat places like railroad engines, electrical power plants, and heavy-duty equipment.
Asbestos was inexpensive and locally available. It was manufactured into a variety of products because it was also non-corrosive, wouldn’t conduct electricity and added strength to other materials. Mixing asbestos into products even lessened their weight.
These were just some of the ACM products used in Arkansas:
- Insulation in industrial, commercial and residential construction
- Furnaces, boilers and high-pressure pipes
- Welding equipment including welding rods and protective clothing
- Roofing shingles, underlayment, and adhesives
- Automotive brake pads and clutch plates
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Engine gaskets, hoses, valves and packings
- Sheetrock panels, tape, and joint compound
- Masonry mortar and brick manufacturing
Certain Arkansas occupations had a high risk for asbestos exposure. Workers who directly mined raw asbestos had the worst exposure and were at considerable risk of developing mesothelioma, as did those who handled asbestos materials while manufacturing products or cutting them for installation. However, many workers who were in the vicinity of airborne asbestos fibers also inhaled them at an unacceptable rate.
Some of the highest-risk occupations were:
- Asbestos underground and open pit miners
- Welders, pipefitters, and metal fabricators
- Workers in oil refineries, chemical factories, and power generation plants
- Construction workers including carpenters and laborers
- Insulators, roofers, and drywallers
- Bricklayers, Masons, and cement placers
- Auto and heavy-duty equipment mechanics
- Armed Forces veterans using ACM
Arkansas Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Arkansas State does not have specific laws and regulations concerning a ban on asbestos products. Rather, they have a strict abatement protocol in place directing how workers should handle and dispose of existing ACM. Arkansas’ Department of Pollution Control and Ecology (ADPCE) oversee these asbestos controls and rely heavily on the existing federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations as a framework.
One piece of legislation unique to Arkansas is called Rule 21 of the ADPCE commission’s asbestos abatement regulations. This regulates licensing of asbestos removal contractors. Rule 21 also regulates how demolitions and renovations are handled where old ACM exists.
One important Arkansas law is their statute of limitations concerning mesothelioma lawsuits. Arkansas state civil courts stipulate that suits must be filed within three years of a patient being diagnosed with mesothelioma. That makes it time-sensitive for a mesothelioma victim to retain an Arkansas mesothelioma lawyer as soon as they’re diagnosed.
Retaining a Mesothelioma Attorney in Arkansas
Anyone who is diagnosed with mesothelioma should be entitled to the maximum amount of compensation with the minimum of stress. They also deserve their claim being settled in the shortest time possible.