Maine (ME) Asbestos Information:
The province of Quebec is the heart of Canada’s still legal and thriving asbestos industry. The state of Maine borders Quebec, so it is not surprising to find that there is a great deal of naturally-occurring asbestos deposits in the western region where Maine borders Quebec and northern New Hampshire.
Despite the fact that Maine has been settled for well over two centuries, the location of these asbestos deposits is in a part of the state that is very lightly inhabited; the only major highway in the region is S.R. 27, which skirts the northwestern edge of this area along the shores of the Chain Lakes.
Three other naturally-occurring asbestos deposits have been identified by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. One of these is close to the state’s eastern border with New Brunswick in the vicinity of Fort Fairfield; the other two are located along Maine’s rugged coast on the peninsula separating Penobscot Bay from Blue Bay.
Maine has an abundance of older and historic buildings. Most of these have asbestos issues; one such restoration in the town of Hallowell came to local media attention in 2007 when the company in charge of renovations for the historic, 175-year-old Worster House failed to notify the state Department of Environmental Quality and used uncertified personnel for asbestos abatement.
Hallowell House LLC incurred a substantial fine for the violation. It is worth pointing out that Maine, like New Hampshire and Vermont, takes its environmental laws quite seriously – and this includes matters in which asbestos is involved. Violators of the state’s asbestos regulations face stiff penalties.
There are in fact 84 different jobsites and public buildings listed where asbestos has been a problem. These include not only the “usual suspects” – paper mills, power generation plants, iron foundries, shipyards and military installations – but numerous school buildings, warehouses, and ironically, a number of hospitals.
A recent study carried out at the National Cancer Institute showed that workers employed in shipbuilding facilities face elevated risks from asbestos diseases such as asbestosis or pleural plaques, or one of the fatal forms of asbestos cancer; mesothelioma or lung cancer. This study followed 4,700 subjects who had been employed at a Coast Guard facility in Maryland between 1950 and 1963. There was a “small but significant increase” in the mortality rate due to asbestos between this group and the general population.
Maine also has a number of power plants, both fossil-fueled and hydroelectric. Asbestos insulation and packing abounds throughout all power generation facilities, and a recent Puerto Rican study showed that workers in these facilities face a substantially higher risk of asbestos disease. Thirteen percent of chest x-rays taken of the workers in this study showed some kind of anomaly.
The paper industry makes up yet another prominent sector of Maine’s economy, due to its abundant forest resources. Many asbestos disease victims were employed at paper mills; in more than one case, family members were also affected because of fibers brought home on clothing or in the hair.
Specific towns and cities in which these industries could be found include Auburn, Bangor, Portland, and Presque Isle.
Maine is a small state in terms of population; between 1980 and 2000, there was an increase from 1.12 to 1.27 million. During that time, 387 people died from asbestos poisoning.
Maine is unusual in that deaths due to asbestosis were far more common than those due to mesothelioma. Although the latter is a relatively rare condition, it is invariably fatal; asbestosis on the other hand is treatable when diagnosed early. Unlike mesothelioma, it is neither progressive nor malignant; the disease stops progressing once the patient is removed from the asbestos environment.
Maine (ME) 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 Maine (ME) where workers were potentially and unnecessarily put at risk:
Bath Iron Works: Bath, ME
Maine (ME) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
The State of Maine has not seen a significant amount of mesothelioma lawsuits. However, it is the home to several companies that have been defendants in nationwide asbestos-related cases, and cases have been filed by Maine mesothelioma lawyers against these specific defendants as well. For individuals, the good news in the state is that Maine has a much more lenient statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits than most other states, with a six-year general statute of limitations.
One of the major companies in Maine to be regularly involved in asbestos-related litigation has been Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. This company was sued by thousands of people in a number of different states beginning in 2002. The lawsuits have principally been based on claims relating to certain research, publication and other activities of Metlife’s employees from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. Many suits allege that Metlife learned or should have learned of certain health hazards posed by asbestos and also allege that, among other things, Metlife improperly publicized or at times failed to disclose those health risks. A search through the Maine Federal District Court Cases for asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits or Maine mesothelioma lawsuits brings up a list of three 2006 lawsuits in which the defendant is Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
The only case in Maine relating to asbestos listed in the online records for the First District Court was an appeal by the defendant in a personal injury suit. In 1991 Maine mesothelioma lawyers for the plaintiff in the suit had filed for and won medical benefits due to exposure to asbestos dust. In 1995, when the defendant filed for full disability benefits, the lower court found that the plaintiff had suffered additional exposure while the defendant was self-insured, and therefore ruled that the responsibility for the payments belonged to the company, rather than an insurance company. The defendant appealed that ruling in 2001, but the First District Court upheld the lower court’s decision. It should be noted that the appeal was not an attempt to deny the plaintiff’s right to receive disability compensation, but only about whether it was the company or their insurer who had to pay.
In addition to these lawsuits, potential Maine mesothelioma lawsuits may eventually arise from asbestos exposure at Maine’s Superfund sites. Sites of concern in Maine include Brunswick Naval Air Station, between Brunswick and Bath; Union Chemical Co., Inc., in South Hope; and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in Kittery. Asbestos contamination was found at these three sites. Individuals living or working near these areas should be checked regularly for signs of malignant mesothelioma and should contact a Maine mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after a diagnosis in order to file any lawsuits within the state’s statute of limitations.
Those interested in filing a Maine mesothelioma lawsuit or hiring a Maine mesothelioma lawyer should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Maine is six years with a discovery rule that states that this amount of time begins when the problem (in this case the mesothelioma) either was discovered or should have been discovered. There is no specific statute about asbestos. It should be noted that wrongful death cases are limited to a two-year statute of limitations following the same discovery rule.