Tennessee (TN) Asbestos Information:
The Volunteer State has two major industries that are of interest to those concerned with occupational asbestos exposure. One of these is paper and pulp; International Paper (now operating as “Evergreen”) Company, is headquartered in Memphis.
The other product is electrical power. The Tennessee Valley Authority, created under the Franklin Roosevelt Administration in 1933, is the largest public utility in the U.S., serving approximately 8.5 million customers in Tennessee and six neighboring states. Electrical power is generated from hydroelectric plants, coal and gas, nuclear fuel, combustion turbines and wind turbines.
Regardless of the type of power generation, all of these plants have contained asbestos at some point in their existence, because of its insulating properties.
Risks to Power Plant Workers
Center for Health Statistics data indicates that as many as 3% of all occupationally related deaths in the U.S. are due to mesothelioma. Because of the extensive use of asbestos in such facilities, power plant employees face an elevated risk of contracting asbestosis or a form of asbestos cancer such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
This fact was borne out in a 2003 study of power plant workers in Puerto Rico:
“Prevalence of chest x-ray abnormalities consistent with asbestos-related scarring was 13% among participants with 25 or more years from onset. Thirty percent gave a history of asbestos exposure prior to power plant employment. Only 11% of the study participants were current smokers. A high prevalence (46%) of restrictive abnormality was found. Shortness of breath was commonly reported by examinees.”
It has been noted elsewhere that tobacco use can increase the chances of developing asbestos-related lung cancer by 9000%. The abovementioned study also indicated that 42% of the participants in the study suffered from obesity, which may have had some bearing on the shortness of breath; however, that would not, by itself, have had any bearing on the abnormalities found in workers’ chest x-rays.
Those at risk for developing respiratory disorders include electricians, pipefitters, boilermakers and other repair and maintenance personnel. The reason is that for half a century, asbestos was used as an insulator against both heat and electrical current dangers. At the time electric wiring, panel partitions, and electrical cloth all contained asbestos materials, which were likely to become friable as they aged.
The asbestos danger was not confined to the workers themselves. As several lawsuits have demonstrated, secondary exposure has resulted in the deaths of family members as workers brought these asbestos fibers into the home. The fibers were frequently contained in the hair and on the clothing of these workers and inhaled by unsuspecting family members, causing asbestos related diseases such as malignant mesothelioma.
Paper and Pulp Mills
A French study carried out in 2002 involved 63,000 men from 13 different countries. These men had worked for at least one year in the pulp and paper industry between 1945 and 1996. Of those studied, 22,650 or about 36% had been exposed to asbestos fibers at some point in the course of their employment. Fourteen of them had died from pleural mesothelioma.
The remaining 47,000, who had not been exposed to asbestos on the job, had half the overall rate of mesothelioma of those who had.
Overall Statistics For Tennessee
Tennessee has four major population centers: Memphis, which is the state’s largest city; Nashville, the largest metro region overall; Chattanooga; and Knoxville. The remainder of the state is primarily rural. Most of the state’s 676 victims of asbestos diseases during the two decades prior to 2000 were from these population centers. Mesothelioma cases outnumbered asbestosis ones by approximately two to one.
Tennessee (TN) 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.
Tennessee (TN) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
A search through the Tennessee Federal District Court Cases for asbestos-related personal injury claims, such as mesothelioma lawsuits, brings up two from 2006 and 2007. However, each of these cases is a petition for removal from asbestos litigation, not a lawsuit brought by an individual affected by an asbestos-related disease.
Tennessee is ranked 24 in the U.S. for mesothelioma cases. With a mesothelioma mortality rate of 7.09 per million, Tennessee has a crude mortality rank of 46 in the country.
Tennessee has two known asbestos exposed areas: the Chattanooga Nuclear Powerhouse in Chattanooga, and Dupont in Hickory. Individuals living or working near these areas should be checked regularly for signs of mesothelioma in order to file any lawsuits within the state’s statute of limitations. While many of these sites have been inspected and some have been cleaned up, anyone who worked or lived in these areas before asbestos contamination was reported can still be affected. Also, it is important to keep in mind that these are only known asbestos sites. Other areas in the state may also contain asbestos but may not yet have been reported as such.
Tennessee has seen a number of key asbestos cases and incidents. Asbestos dust from disintegrating floor tiles was discovered at the chief sorting and collection facility for the U.S. Postal Service in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In May 2007, OSHA reported that asbestos exposure was a risk to the approximately employees there, who could get asbestos on their skin and clothing via contact with the mail cases, mail totes and mail trays. At first, the Postal Service was fined $1,500 by OSHA for what it termed a serious housekeeping violation. Later, however, an appeal reduced the fine by half. Both USPS and OSHA officials announced that a plan had been determined for addressing the floor tile problem until a $90,000 project to replace the tiles is completed: the floor would be mopped and vacuumed daily. The safety manager for the Postal Service’s Tennessee District said that air quality evaluations found no immediate hazard to workers.
Another Tennessee asbestos case occurred in summer of 2007, when James Weese, a Tennessee resident, filed a mesothelioma suit in Madison County Circuit Court. Weese claimed that his mesothelioma was wrongfully caused while he we was employed between the 1940s and 1990s as a welder, pipe fitter, and laborer. Weese’s claim alleged that he was exposed to asbestos products in the workplace and while completing automotive repairs and home renovations. His lawsuit named 118 defendants, including Alcoa, CBS, Discount Auto Parts, Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Goodyear, Honeywell International, Ingersoll-Rand, John Crane, Owens-Illinois, Pabst Brewing, Sears and U.S. Steel. The case, which asked for $250,000 in damages, alleged that the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers in their products were toxic, poisonous and highly dangerous to people’s health.
Those interested in filing lawsuits should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Tennessee is only one year 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. Because of this, it is extremely important to contact a Tennessee mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after your diagnosis. Wrongful death cases follow the same statute of limitations and discovery rule. There is no specific statute about asbestos in Tennessee.