Known as 'The Hospitality State,' Mississippi has a population of approximately three million people. The state is heavily forested, so before the American Civil War, most developments and settlements were placed along the riverfronts. A lot of the land has now been cleared, but the state is still mainly rural and used for agricultural businesses. Mississippi is ranked lowly (sometimes last) among states for health, education and household income. Since 1990, cancer deaths have increased by 15% from 197.2 to 225.8 per 100,000. Many of these deaths over the years have been attributed to mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Cases in Mississippi
Mississippi is ranked 26th in the US for mesothelioma and asbestos-related deaths. Between 1999-2013, 274 residents are known to have died from mesothelioma.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, wreckage containing asbestos was found that potentially exposed both first-responders and residents to the toxic fibers during clean-up. As a result, it’s possible many more Mississippi residents will be given mesothelioma diagnosed in the years to come.
Due to the low-ranking health care system, Mississippi does not have a dedicated mesothelioma treatment center within its borders. However, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Birmingham, Alabama, was constructed to help with diagnosis and treatment options and remains the closest medical establishment for mesothelioma.
The most substantial compensation granted for a Mississippi mesothelioma victim was $322 million, which was also the highest amount across the United States. The verdict, however, was later overruled.
Asbestos Use in Mississippi
Mississippi is home to a lot of industries that relied heavily on asbestos. It became a well-known place for oil refineries and shipyards thanks to its position on the Gulf of Mexico. Chemical and power plants are other industries that frequently used asbestos to prevent fires. Although regulations are now in place, it’s believed that many workers will suffer from mesothelioma or other lung-cancers due to the extent of exposure over the years.
The three industries that have worst affected people in the Mississippi region are oil, power plants and shipbuilding, but the following industries are also responsible for some mesothelioma-related deaths in Mississippi:
- Chemical Plants
- Dock Work
- Demolition Work
The State’s production of oil and gas began in 1903 when little was known about the risks of asbestos. The substance was used in the production of both gas and oil, and many employees have been exposed over their careers. To this day, Mississippi is one of the largest producers of carbon-based fuels in the US, despite its relatively small coastline. However, today’s employers must obey health and safety regulations to avoid exposing workers to asbestos.
Power plants were historically filled with asbestos to reduce the danger of fire outbreaks, but this precaution put the workers at significant risk. The Gulf Power Plant, Grand Gulf Power Plant and Jack Watson Powerhouse were known to have asbestos issues at some point. Thanks to new regulations controlling asbestos exposure amounts, it’s no longer recommended under health and safety ruling.
As Mississippi is located on the Gulf, it was a prime location for shipbuilding. Between 1930 and the late 1970s, asbestos was used in the insulation and construction of vessels, meaning that people who worked in maritime professions—from shipbuilding to sailing—were at risk of developing mesothelioma in the years preceding their employment.
Pulp and Paper
As more than 60% of Mississippi’s land is heavily forested, it comes as no surprise that lumber and paper are other popular industries. Both have used asbestos in their machinery in the past, including on the vehicles used to transport logs and wood products.
Mississippi Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Historically, Mississippi’s primary industry was agriculture, but after the shipyards and power plants opened, asbestos became used throughout the workforce. As the state is still rural, it’s not been as much of an issue as with densely populated, urbanized areas of the US. But it’s still a problem for those living with mesothelioma in Mississippi.
Asbestos use has been decreasing since the 1980s, and today the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is responsible for the enforcement of asbestos laws. This includes the demolition and renovation of activities, residential homes, schools, and landfill to ensure that asbestos is removed and destroyed safely.
Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, victims have three-years to file a lawsuit within (the state’s statute of limitations). Lawsuits can also be filed within three years of wrongful death.
Retaining a Mississippi Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you have been exposed to asbestos or have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. You must seek the advice of a lawyer who is experienced in mesothelioma cases, as this can dramatically reduce the time taken to file the lawsuit. It will also increase the chances of being compensated for damages.
For more information on asbestos exposure in Mississippi, contact our Justice Support Team today.