Kentucky is famous for its horse racing, bourbon and delicious southern cooking. Rich military and industrial ties are also sources of pride in the Bluegrass State. Unfortunately, Kentucky is becoming known for a reason more tragic—extensive asbestos use during the 20th century that continues to poison its citizens today.
Mesothelioma Cases in Kentucky
From 1999 to 2013, Kentucky experienced over 2,370 asbestos-related deaths. The death rate in 8 counties exceeds the national average of 4.9 per 100,000 citizens.
The statistics in 4 particular Kentucky counties are especially troublesome:
- Magoffin County — 21.6
- Boyd County — 13.7
- Marshall County — 12.0
- Greenup County — 11.7
Many mesothelioma victims in Kentucky have filed lawsuits against their former employers for wrongful asbestos exposure, often earning a sizable settlement for pain and suffering, and to recoup medical expenses.
Some claims end up going to a verdict, as with Flora Franklin who was poisoned by asbestos while working at a tile manufacturer. The plant’s owner, Vanderbilt was deemed at fault for Flora’s exposure and was ordered to pay over $4 million in damages.
Asbestos Use in Kentucky
Asbestos was used widely in Kentucky during the 1900s, mostly for construction and manufacturing. Heat-resistant, fireproof and anti-corrosive, asbestos was an ideal material for residential, commercial and military buildings, and for machinery parts and household appliances. While there are no natural asbestos deposits in Kentucky, masses of the harmful material were brought in to complete projects large and small.
Kentucky is home to a broad range of manufacturing plants, many of which played a crucial role in World War II production efforts. Louisville became the Rubber Capital of the World during the 1940s, with plants like B.F. Goodrich and DuPont employing hundreds of workers. These plants and others used asbestos in gaskets, equipment, pipes and building construction—putting employees and their families at risk.
Despite being landlocked, Kentucky was an important shipping and transportation hub in the 20th century. Freight and passengers alike moved up and down the Ohio River, connecting with railroads for further transportation. Asbestos was used on locomotives for boilers, engines, clutches, brakes and other parts, and on the railroad itself. Employees who worked on board or repaired locomotives, or worked around the rail yard may have been exposed to asbestos.
Kentucky has a long and proud military history, with Fort Knox, Fort Campbell and other bases providing U.S. defense support both past and present. Asbestos was used in the walls, floors, ceilings, pipes and elsewhere in these bases. Veterans and civilians who were involved in building construction or repairs, or who simply spent time on military bases, may be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
In Kentucky, there are other high-risk occupations for asbestos exposure, including:
- Pipefitters and plumbers
- Boiler room workers
- Construction/demolition crews
- First responders
Employees who worked indirectly with asbestos or who spent time in a building constructed with asbestos in Kentucky may also be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Kentucky employees who worked at jobs at the following works sites may have been exposed to asbestos:
- Power stations
- Chemical plants
- Oil refineries
- Food processing centers
- Old buildings that underwent major renovation
Kentucky Asbestos Laws and Regulations
The Air Quality Division (AQD) of Kentucky’s Department for Environmental Protection oversees the state’s asbestos regulations. Property owners and contractors must notify AQD of any demolitions or significant renovations, regardless of whether asbestos is confirmed. All abatement workers and inspectors must be properly trained in asbestos safety procedures.
AQD also maintains an asbestos registry for schools, mapping the asbestos location in the building and its condition. The division issues regular inspections to ensure students, teachers and school staff are not at risk of exposure.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims
Kentucky residents need to know the statute of limitations when filing asbestos claims for wrongful exposure. Mesothelioma patients in Kentucky have 1 year from the date of diagnosis. If filing a wrongful death claim, direct family members have 1 year from the date of death.
Retaining a Kentucky Mesothelioma Lawyer
Kentucky mesothelioma victims have a short window of time to file their claim. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer has the expertise and resources to build a solid case right away and negotiate the settlement you are entitled.
If you developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure in Kentucky, contact our Justice Support Team today.