Massachusetts is a small but mighty state with deep historical ties. Situated along the Eastern seaboard, Massachusetts is an important port of entry, and in the 20th century was home to many dockyards, shipbuilding centers and naval stations. Unfortunately, these sites were often built with asbestos and put workers at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Cases in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is known for taking care of its citizens, ranking #1 in the United States in healthcare access. However, statistics for asbestos exposure tell a different story.
Over 6,300 residents have died from asbestos-related disease from 1999 to 2013, and the state’s death rate of 6.5 per 100,000 people ranks high above the 4.9 national average.
Massachusetts courts have awarded millions of dollars in damages to victims of wrongful asbestos exposure and their families. In an important case, W.R. Grace Company—which manufactured products made of asbestos—was ordered to set up a $3 billion asbestos trust fund. In 2015 alone, the trust paid $335 million to victims.
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Asbestos Use in Massachusetts
A wide range of companies across Massachusetts used asbestos during the 20th century. Heat-resistant and fireproof, asbestos was in high-demand for construction, manufacturing and to make protective clothing.
Massachusetts shipyards built hundreds of military and commercial vessels during the 1900s. Workers installed asbestos-containing insulation on pipes, tanks, boilers and walls throughout the ships. Mechanical parts like gaskets also contained asbestos. Boston Navy Yard and Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard are two examples of the many shipyards that used asbestos.
Massachusetts has one of the highest population densities in America, and Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station was constructed in 1972 to service the increased energy demand. Due to its heat-resistant nature, asbestos was used extensively in nuclear power plants. Employees involved in Pilgrim’s construction and those who worked at the plant in its early years were at high risk of asbestos exposure.
During the past five years, Massachusetts has experienced a “renovation boom” of old commercial and residential buildings. Construction and demolition crews are encountering asbestos in walls, ceilings and floors. When disturbed, asbestos fibers become airborne—putting workers at risk of exposure. Given the recent renovation demand, some crews rushing to complete jobs and employers may not be providing adequate time to follow asbestos regulations and safety best practices.
Other Asbestos-Related Industries in Massachusetts
Other high-risk occupations for asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma in Massachusetts include:
- Military veterans
- Railroad workers
- First responders
- Plant technicians
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 plants
- Military bases
- Chemical plants
- Manufacturing plants
- Docks and freight yards
- Old buildings that underwent major renovation
Massachusetts Asbestos Laws and Regulations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) oversees the state’s asbestos regulations. Contractors working with asbestos must be certified, and MassDEP may conduct on-site inspections to ensure crews meet the regulations.
MassDEP sets strict guidelines for transporting and disposing of asbestos. The original contractor, each hauler, and the waste facility company must sign a removal form to ensure proper disposal.
Massachusetts residents must be aware of the statutes of limitation surrounding claims for wrongful asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma patients have 3 years from the date of diagnosis. If filing a wrongful death claim, direct family members have 3 years from the date of death.
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Retaining a Massachusetts Mesothelioma Lawyer
Massachusetts employers put their workers’ health in danger for decades. Finding the most qualified mesothelioma attorney who has the knowledge and experience to build a strong case and negotiate a settlement in the shortest possible time is a necessity.
If you developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure in Massachusetts, contact our Justice Support Team today.