Louisiana (LA) Asbestos Information:
Between 1980 and 2000, the population of Louisiana increased by only a bit over 5%, from around 4.2 million to 4.5 million. During that time, there were nearly 700 recorded deaths from asbestos diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Because of Louisiana’s location at the junction of two major waterways on the Gulf Coast, maritime industries have flourished here. In addition, oil drilling and refining are prominent industries in the state. Also, there are eight major power generation plants in the state.
All three of these industries are known for exposing their employees to large amounts of asbestos fiber, most unintentionally though some through willful negligence.
Avondale, Bollinger and Higgins are three of the largest shipbuilding and marine repair facilities in the state; prior to its decline during the 1980s, Todd, a major marine equipment manufacturer based out of Seattle, also had a presence in Louisiana.
Because of a tragic cruise ship fire off the coast of New Jersey in 1935, asbestos insulation was used throughout the construction of sea-going vessels as well as those that navigated the nation’s river systems. The result was almost as tragic: shipyard workers and Navy veterans are among the most likely to contract asbestos diseases.
As asbestos is most frequently used for its fire-resistant characteristics, it was also used quite often in the construction of all types of power generation facilities. Steam generators, pipe fittings and conduits are frequently coated in a W.R. Grace & Company product called Monokote; despite corporate claims that the substance was “asbestos-free,” it actually contained 12% asbestos fiber by content up until 1973. Even today, 1% of Monokote is made of asbestos fiber, and because of today’s laws dealing with content disclosure, it can still be marketed as “asbestos-free”.
A recent study done in Puerto Rico showed that 13% of power plant workers showed “abnormalities” in chest x-rays.
Even in its crude form, petroleum is highly flammable. As a result, asbestos is found almost everywhere in oil refineries and drilling facilities. Ironically, some exposure came from the very clothing and equipment designed to protect workers, including fireproof jackets and gloves; when these became ripped or worn, asbestos fibers would be released into the air.
Thirteen petroleum processing plants, including operations owned and operated by BP Amoco, Citgo, Shell Oil and Texaco, have been identified as asbestos exposure sites in Louisiana.
Asbestos Cement Plants
A 1987 study of various cement plants in Louisiana showed elevated rates of cancer among workers at plants where amphibole asbestos was used compared to those at chrysotile plants. Chrysotile was predominantly used from about 1960 onward.
Louisiana’s asbestos deaths show a pattern that is unusual when compared to the rest of the nation; the numbers of deaths from the asbestos disease asbestosis and the asbestos cancer mesothelioma are almost equal. Asbestosis numbers are in fact actually higher than those for mesothelioma.
Asbestosis is far more common than malignant mesothelioma, but it is also far more treatable and its prognosis is much better when caught in its early stages. This explains why mesothelioma deaths are more prevalent than asbestosis ones in most other states, but why more Louisianans die from asbestosis is a mystery.
Another interesting fact is that asbestos deaths in New Orleans proper were only half those in neighboring Jefferson Parish, which actually had a lower population. In most other states, the rate of asbestos disease victims is fairly proportional to the general population.
These figures may be due to the more prevalent use of chrysotile asbestos as opposed to amphibole. Although equally deadly in the long term, amphibole asbestos tends to work more quickly in the lungs to cause cell mutations that result in cancer.
Louisiana (LA) Job Sites At Risk From Asbestos Exposure:
Over the course of the last century, hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed to asbestos while on the job – and for the most part, they were not warned. Below is a list of Job sites from the state of Louisiana (LA) where workers were potentially and unnecessarily put at risk:
Avondale Industries: Avondale, LA
Bollinger Shipyards: Lockport, LA
Louisiana (LA) Asbestos Cancer & Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
Today, between 25 and 30% of all Americans will get some form of cancer during their lifetimes. There are many reasons for this, including the modern lifestyle and the poisons that have been put into the environment – of which asbestos is a prime example. The number of clinics and hospitals that specialize in oncology have increased in response to the growing number of patients.
Louisiana (LA) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
One of the major issues of concern in the state of Louisiana in recent years related to mesothelioma has been the exposure to asbestos caused by the damage done during Hurricane Katrina. After Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, experts have warned that the government has been less than truthful with the public about the health risks involved with gutting homes and the threats from floodwaters dumping toxins on public areas such as schoolyards and parks.
There is some indication that despite a short statute of limitations (only one year), litigation in Louisiana is pro-victim in asbestos-related cases brought by Louisiana mesothelioma lawyers. For example, in one recent lawsuit (unrelated to Katrina cleanup), the plaintiff was awarded over $3 million in damages. The 61-year-old man and his Louisiana mesothelioma lawyer, who developed malignant mesothelioma after years of work-related asbestos exposure, sued multiple defendants on the grounds that they had not warned him of the dangers of asbestos. He was awarded $3.2 million for his damages.
Another pro-victim decision was the 2007 case Graves v. Riverwood Intern, in which the Second Circuit upheld a jury verdict in favor of the family of a West Monroe paper mill worker. The defendant in the case appealed on a number of grounds, including that some of the evidence at the original trial should not have been admitted and that the jury had been improperly advised before deliberations. The circuit court ruled against the defendant on all issues, and the jury’s verdict was affirmed.
Furthermore, court cases in Louisiana tend to find in favor of the victim in regards to the statutes of limitations. For example, in the 2006 case Abram v. EPEC Oil, the court awarded damages to the family of a man who developed asbestosis after workplace exposure to asbestos at a refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana. The Fourth Circuit rejected the defendant’s claim that the case was not timely and upheld the trial court’s finding that three company executives were negligent in failing to protect the plaintiff and other workers at the refinery from asbestos exposure.
If you are interested in filing a Louisiana mesothelioma lawsuit you should know that Louisiana, like most other states has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Determining when to start the measuring of that time also varies from state to state so you may be best served by contacting a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after a diagnosis is made. Wrongful death cases may also have a statute of limitations and the same or different rules for determining when to begin measuring. Whether or not your action is limited by statute, you may still be eligible to present claims to bankruptcy trusts that have billions of dollars for victims of asbestos.