Idaho (ID) Asbestos Information:
The Idaho panhandle is located just west of the Continental Divide, which is defined by the Rocky Mountains – an extensive chain of mountain ranges that resulted from the collision of two tectonic plates, running from Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories and extending down into Mexico.
The Rockies are known to have many naturally-occurring deposits of asbestos, and the mountainous Idaho panhandle is no exception. Three of these sites are located in a straight line running south from Libby, Montana (arguably “Ground Zero” in the War on Asbestos).
Two of these natural asbestos deposits contain the deadly asbestos cancer causing amphibole variety of asbestos; one of these is located along U.S. 95 between Moscow and Potlatch just east of the Washington State line. The other is in the Bitterroot Mountains that separate Idaho from Montana, approximately 20 miles northwest of Salmon, Idaho, and 30 miles west of Wisdom, Montana. This area lies high in the mountains in the middle of a national forest area, and is not accessible except by dirt roads.
The 2000 Census listed a total population of 1.29 million people. While this is a low figure and makes Idaho one of the more sparsely populated states, it is currently one of the fastest-growing states in terms of population growth; an estimate made only five years later put the figure at over 1.43 million – a 10.4% increase.
What does this mean in terms of asbestos exposure? Idaho is primarily an agricultural state, while high-tech science and technology accounts for 25% of the state’s GNP; neither of these is associated with asbestos poisoning.
In addition, there are no specific Idaho-based companies or businesses that have been associated with asbestos exposure and have been named defendants in any sort of Idaho legal action. Unlike many states, there are no laws in Idaho pertaining specifically to asbestos or asbestos exposure; in 1997, asbestos inspections were taken over by the Environmental Protection Agency.
There are, however, chemical plants, paper products and mining. All of these industries have been shown to involve the use of asbestos products. In addition, the Idaho National Laboratory is a worksite at which nuclear energy research is conducted; anyone who worked at the world’s first nuclear reactor in Arco may very well have been exposed to asbestos fibers.
However, the main exposure, given the rate of population growth, may be the construction industry. Aside from asbestos exposure that commonly results from demolition and renovation projects, and despite the recent passage in the U.S. Senate of S. 742, the “Ban Asbestos in America Act,” there are of this writing some 3,000 products that still legally contain asbestos. Many of these are construction materials such as wallboard and various adhesives.
Mortality Rates in Idaho
From 1980 to 2000, the population of Idaho went from 944,000 to 1,300,000–an increase of over 30%.
During that same period, there were 180 reported deaths due to asbestos poisoning in the state, concentrated in the Boise-Nampa metro area. Ada County accounted for 27 of these deaths; Kootenai County, just east of Spokane, Washington, in the northern panhandle region, was second with 25 asbestos victims.
Statewide, there were slightly more deaths from mesothelioma than there were from asbestosis, however asbestosis victims were more numerous in rural counties – a pattern that is common nationwide.
Unlike malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis is a non-malignant disease. Although the effects of asbestosis are irreversible, the progress of the disease usually stops once the victim is no longer being exposed to asbestos.
Mesothelioma is incurable and is known to spread to other areas of the body; while many treatments exist that can ease patient discomfort, most patients do not survive more than 18 months following diagnosis.
Idaho (ID) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
As with other Rocky Mountain area states, Idaho is no stranger to asbestos-related issues. The state has at least one former asbestos mine and several sites containing asbestos deposits, including the Kamiah anthophyllite deposits in north-central Idaho, which were worked on a small scale in the early part of the 1900s. The anthophyllite asbestos obtained there was used in wall plaster, paint, pipe and boiler covers, and as a binding agent in cements and asphalts.
Despite Idaho being ranked second worst in the nation for reported air releases of asbestos, and fifth worst in the nation for total environmental releases of the carcinogen, high court litigation related to asbestos does not seem to take place in Idaho. A search of the Idaho State Judiciary’s cases for the Supreme Court of the state turns up no cases at all which reference either mesothelioma or asbestos. Further, a docket search through the Idaho Federal District Court cases under their “asbestos personal injury product liability” option turns up no cases.
Those interested in filing an Idaho mesothelioma lawsuit or hiring an Idaho mesothelioma lawyer should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Idaho is two years from the date of occurrence. Wrongful death cases fall under the same statute of limitations. There is no specific statute about asbestos. However, the statute of limitations was stringently upheld in an asbestos-related case in Boise in 2000. In Brennan v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. et. al., the victim found out in July, 1992, that he had lung cancer which could have been due to either asbestos or smoking. In October of that year, a second doctor confirmed that the cause was asbestos. The case came to trial in October, 1994. The court ruled that the date the victim discovered his problem was the original diagnoses date in July, 1992, which put him slightly outside of the two-year statute of limitations. Therefore, his case was found to be not valid and was dismissed. This ruling occurred in spite of the fact that back in 1987, the district court’s dismissal of an Idaho asbestos victim’s case based on the statute of limitations was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
In addition to the stringent statute of limitations there is a specific clause in the Idaho statutes regarding the amount of damages possible to be awarded in personal injury cases. The clause regarding damages limits pain and suffering in personal injury or death actions to three times compensatory damages, up to a maximum of $250,000. This means that multi-million-dollar mesothelioma lawsuits that happen in other parts of the country are prevented from occurring in Idaho.