Tennessee is ranked 26 out for 50 for overall quality of life, and it currently has a population of 6.65 million people. Tennessee's major industries have always included agriculture, but manufacturing and tourism now offer a considerable boost to the economy. Before the dangers of mesothelioma were understood, asbestos was used throughout Tennessee in many industries.
Mesothelioma Cases in Tennessee
Two of the worst offending industries for asbestos use in Tennessee was the paper and energy sectors, which used vast amounts of asbestos in their machinery. The state is ranked below average for mesothelioma deaths, with 698 deaths in total between 1993-2013. The mesothelioma death rate is 7.1 people per million.
There are several mesothelioma cancer centers in Tennessee, including Baptist Centres for Cancer Care, Memphis Veteran Affairs Medical Centre and the Vanderbilt Cancer Center.
Asbestos Use in Tennessee
Two significant industries are responsible for the majority of asbestos in Tennessee: paper and pulp and energy production.
Paper and Pulp
The Evergreen Packaging Company based in Memphis was one of the most substantial paper and pulp manufacturers in the U.S. Unfortunately, the company (along with many others in the same industry) exposed lumberjacks, plumbers and mill workers to harmful asbestos through the production process. Many of the machines used to create the pump contain asbestos to avoid friction, and some as insulation to protect against fires.
The energy industry is synonymous with asbestos exposure. In the 1930s, the Tennessee Valley Authority was the main energy provider in the country, and many coal, gas and nuclear power plants resided in Tennessee.
Combustion and wind turbines were also renowned in the area for creating hydroelectricity. These industries exposed many workers to asbestos as it was commonly used inside the buildings as a fire safety precaution. By the time the dangers of asbestos were uncovered, thousands of workers had been inhaling the toxic fibers on a day-to-day basis.
Other Asbestos Exposure in Tennessee
Tennessee is now home to one Superfund site, which used to be a charcoal production facility. It was added to the Superfund list in 1989, and efforts have been made to clean up the contaminated water and soil.
In 2013, a fire broke out at the Superfund site and destroyed many buildings, which revealed a significant amount of asbestos on the site.
In a devastating turn of events, many of the employees who were working on the site to clean up the area were exposed to the asbestos, not to mention the employees who initially worked on the site decades earlier. Since mesothelioma can take 10-50 years to develop, we do not yet know the extent of the damage caused.
Another major industry in the 1930s was a classified government project—the development of nuclear weapons. In the town of Oak Ridge, tens of thousands of military personnel occupied the town and used both radioactive materials and asbestos in much of the production. This was not only harmful to the workers but also civilians who lived close-by.
In 2016, an old mill burned down in Chattanooga, exposing asbestos that was encased within the building. As asbestos fibers can stay in the air for hours, it was an incredibly dangerous time for the residents. The mill resolved to clean up the area to avoid further subjecting the townspeople to this toxic material.
Mesothelioma lawyers are now urging electrical workers to come forward with claims, following news that many electricians were exposed to asbestos when working on older asbestos-containing buildings. Whether at power stations, in the U.S. Air Force or maintenance, it’s possible that electrical workers will also be able to claim compensation.
Tennessee Asbestos Laws and Regulations
Due to the dangers of asbestos, Tennessee and the federal government have created laws and regulations to control the material going forward. Project operators must also notify the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Boards before work begins so that it can be checked for asbestos.
There are several asbestos disposal facilities in Tennessee, and all asbestos-containing elements must be safely transported here. Many of Tennessee’s regulation echo that of the National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Retaining a Tennessee Mesothelioma Lawyer
As Mesothelioma is so rare, finding the right lawyer is critical. Look for a lawyer who has experience in winning cases involving asbestos-related cancers as they will already have extensive knowledge of where the asbestos sights are in Tennessee. Millions of dollars have been granted to those who are living with mesothelioma as a result of a former employer.
Each state is different when it comes to filing deadlines, but Tennessee is particularly strict on their timescales. While most states allow the victim to file a lawsuit within 3 years of diagnosis, Tennessee only grants 1 year.
Therefore, it’s essential that you seek a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your case gets to court as soon as it possibly can. If you have lost a loved one due to asbestos exposure, family members can also file a wrongful death lawsuit 1 year from the date of death.
For more information on asbestos exposure compensation in Tennessee, contact our Justice Support Team today.