Kansas is the heartland of the United States. Located at the geographic center of America, the Sunflower State provides agriculture, energy and manufactured goods that benefit the entire country. But these industries and others have an infamous history of exposing workers and their families to harmful asbestos fibers that later develop into mesothelioma and other diseases.
Mesothelioma Cases in Kansas
The number of asbestos-related deaths in Kansas is lower than the national average of 4.9 per 100,000 people.
However, the death rates in 4 counties where many workers were exposed to asbestos on job sites illustrate a serious problem:
- Montgomery County — 10.9
- Cowley County — 8.8
- Saline County — 8.1
- Butler County — 6.2
Trust funds established by companies that exposed workers to asbestos make available billions of dollars for compensation.
Did you know that Owens Corning Fiberboard trust fund was formed in 2006 and set aside $7 billion to pay out future claims. Many Kansans have filed claims through trust funds and/or pursued other legal action.
New legislation may make it more difficult for mesothelioma victims to file a lawsuit against their former employers. Kansas House Bill 2547 would require plaintiffs to file all trust claims within 30 days of seeking civil suits—a move that would likely increase delays and decrease the damages awarded for victims who lack an experienced attorney.
Asbestos Use in Kansas
Many companies used asbestos during the 1900s for a wide range of products and purposes. Asbestos is heat-resistant and anti-corrosive, making it an ideal material for construction, manufacturing, industrial operations and workers’ protective clothing. Asbestos also occurs naturally in Kansas and some of these sites were mined.
Agriculture and Food Processing
Agriculture, livestock and food processing companies employed thousands of workers during the 20th century. Asbestos could be found in buildings and farming equipment, in pipes and boiler rooms, and in machinery parts, putting all workers at risk. Asbestos has been confirmed at several operations, including Page Milk Company and Del Monte Foods.
Oil and natural gas refineries produce high temperatures, and asbestos was used extensively to fireproof operations. Refineries used asbestos-containing insulation in walls, floors and ceilings, around pipes, and in equipment rooms and machinery. Shell, Texaco, Apco and Frontier Oil companies are only a few of the many refineries that exposed Kansas workers to asbestos.
Kansas is well regarded for its aviation manufacturing and repair industry. Asbestos was used in many mechanical parts, from gaskets and valves to brake pads and cooling systems. Some of these parts continue to require asbestos today. Workers may have been exposed while manufacturing or repairing airplanes at Bendix, Cessna, Boeing and other aviation companies in Kansas.
Other high-risk occupations for asbestos exposure in Kansas occupations include:
- Boiler room workers
- Plumbers and pipefitters
- First responders
- Construction/demolition crews
Kansas employees who worked indirectly with asbestos or who spent time in a building constructed with asbestos may also be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Employees who worked in any capacity at the following job sites may have been exposed:
- Power stations
- Chemical plants
- Military bases
- Salt mines
- Asbestos mines
- Old buildings that underwent major renovation
Kansas Asbestos Laws and Regulations
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment oversee the state’s asbestos regulations. Among its responsibilities are:
- Issuing licenses and certificates
- Recording abatement projects
- Approving training courses
- Overseeing asbestos transportation
- Regulating waste protocols
The department issues worksite inspections to enforce the state’s asbestos regulations. Employers must ensure their workers are properly clothed and equipped to handle asbestos and that the job site is well ventilated.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims
Kansas residents must be aware of the statute of limitations on asbestos claims against negligent companies. Mesothelioma patients in Kansas have 2 years from the date of diagnosis. If filing a wrongful death claim, direct family members have 2 years from the date of death.
Retaining a Kansas Mesothelioma Lawyer
Building a strong case for wrongful asbestos exposure takes time and resources. A mesothelioma attorney has the skills and experience to navigate Kansas’ complicated legal system and negotiate the compensation that you deserve.
If you developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure in Kansas, contact our Justice Support Team today.