New Mexico has a population of approximately 2 million. Citizens are spread out among the large geographic area of 121,590 square miles, making it the 5th least densely populated state. Much of the states population growth took place after World War II, when the government increased spending in major military and research institutions across the state. Asbestos materials were widely used in the military, on bases and within vessels.
Mesothelioma Cases in New Mexico
New Mexico has a relatively low number of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related deaths, ranking 37th within all 50 states.
From 1999 to 2013, over 226 New Mexico citizens died from mesothelioma. The annual mortality rate of mesothelioma in New Mexico is 7 cases per million people, which is much lower than the nationwide mortality rate of 14 cases.
Courts in New Mexico have experience dealing with asbestos-related cases. Negotiation settlements have been awarded across the state, which have included punitive damages against employers or manufacturing companies on top of plaintiff compensation.
Lawsuits have been put forward for personal injury from New Mexicans diagnosed and still living with the disease, along with wrongful death suits filed by the family of deceased individuals. Settlements have helped cover mesothelioma treatment costs, along with lost income and pain and suffering. Mesothelioma lawsuits also hold companies responsible and deter future negligence.
Asbestos Use in New Mexico
Asbestos exposure is the most common in an industrial setting, but can also happen outside through natural mineral deposits. New Mexico has numerous natural asbestos deposits in the central and southwestern areas of the state. Any type of exposure to asbestos can increase an individual’s chance of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Along with a vast amount of natural deposits, individuals are at risk of asbestos exposure in New Mexico if they work in the military. The United States military was one of the biggest users of asbestos-containing materials (ACM). ACM are more resistant to fire, heat and electricity, which made them an attractive building block for air and naval vessels and military bases.
The Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque is one of New Mexico’s largest employers, with over 23,000 employees.
New Mexico’s economy is heavily supported by the oil and gas industry. The state has always been a leader in oil production, with oil wells being used to bring petroleum and natural gas to the surface for over a century.
Machinery and gasket seals installed before 1980 typically contain asbestos-based insulation, as the material was able to endure the high temperatures required for oil extraction. Oil refinery workers are generally required to cut, sand and handle equipment, which can create asbestos dust and exposure.
Other Asbestos Industries in New Mexico
Additional occupations in New Mexico may also put individuals at risk to asbestos exposure, including:
- Concrete pouring
Cases of mesothelioma have not only developed from asbestos exposure in the workplace. The disease can also develop in individuals who are subjected to second-hand asbestos fibers from workers who leave job sites with fibers on their clothing or tools.
New Mexico Asbestos Laws and Regulations
There are still various products that contain asbestos, meaning the deadly substance can be present within older industrial, residential and public infrastructures. With this lingering presence and serious health effects, the state of New Mexico has strict laws and regulations to protect citizens from asbestos exposure.
The New Mexico Department of Environment Laws develops and manages regulations around the removal, transport and disposal of asbestos.
Although no new ACM are being used in construction, these laws are in place to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure and protect workers:
- All public, industrial, commercial and residential demolition plans in New Mexico need to be communicated to the state before action can take place.
- Demolition sites need to be inspected before, during and after operations.
- An asbestos specialist needs to be present at all demolition projects.
- ACM need to be properly packaged and labeled during transport and discard.
- Asbestos needs to be reported and disposed of in accordance with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations.
Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims
The state of New Mexico has a statute of limitations of 3 years on asbestos-related lawsuits. This means that citizens who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma need to file their personal injury claim within 3 years of their mesothelioma diagnosis, and families of deceased mesothelioma victims also have 3 years from the date of death to file for wrongful death.
Retaining a New Mexico Mesothelioma Lawyer
Accredited mesothelioma lawyers will be able to support individuals and their families whose lives have been affected by asbestos exposure. These specialized attorneys have the educations and resources needed to negotiate settlements within this complex and emerging field of law.
If you live in New Mexico and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, contact our Justice Support Team today.