(VT) Asbestos Information:
The Green Mountains that gave Vermont its name could also be called the “Asbestos Mountains”; the same geologic processes that produced the greenish-hued minerals that predominate–mica, quartz and chlorite–also produced an abundance of serpentine, which is the source is chrysotile asbestos.
Vermont was once a producer of chrysotile, and in fact was the first state in which asbestos was mined commercially. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry map of U.S. asbestos, there were a number of areas in northern Vermont that were considered for commercial asbestos production, but never developed. One of these sites was actually a source of amphibole fiber, which is even more deadly than the more commonly used chrysotile variety.
The population of Vermont increased by nearly 20% between 1980 and 2000; nonetheless, at a current population of around 624,000, it has the lowest population of any other state except Wyoming. In the two decades prior to the 2000 census, there were 75 fatalities attributable to asbestos diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Vermont’s Asbestos History
Although Henry John’s company – the descendant of which is Johns-Manville, Inc. – had been in existence for fifty years, it was the New England Asbestos Mining and Milling Company that first mined the substance commercially in Vermont around the year 1899. This was the first commercial asbestos mine in the U.S., predating the operations in Libby, Montana, by over two decades. The mine, located on Mount Belvedere did not operate for long. The company closed the mine in 1902, but operations were restarted following the First World War; by 1929, the Eden-Belvadere mine was producing virtually the entire domestic supply of asbestos.
The mine changed ownership several times over the decades. As the health hazards of asbestos became more and more apparent during the 1970s, legal pressure was placed on the mine’s owners by the EPA to make the operation less toxic.
Nonetheless, demand for asbestos dropped precipitously throughout the 1980s; the Mt. Belvedere mine was the last U.S. asbestos operation to close down in 1993. The area continues to be of interest to geologists and other scientists however, as scientists explore ways of sequestering excess carbon dioxide.
Vermont’s Asbestos Industries and Job Sites
Asbestos was an ingredient in many building materials prior to 1980. These materials included a product called transite (a type of wall board made from asbestos-reinforced concrete), roofing shingles, linoleum flooring, ceiling tiles, “popcorn” ceiling texturing, pipe lagging and insulation as well as concrete water pipes. One such insulation product was vermiculite, a type of clay from Libby, Montana that was frequently contaminated with tremolite asbestos, a form of amphibole.
As a result, asbestos is frequently found not only in private homes but also in public buildings in which one would not normally except to find asbestos. These include schools, hospitals, and office buildings; the Hogback Ski Area Dorms are one such place.
Vermont’s Power Plants
According to Center for Health Statistics data and the findings of a recent study in Puerto Rico, electrical power generation plants are exceptionally dangerous workplaces in terms of asbestos exposure. Vermont has one such plant worthy of mention: the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, currently owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear, which took over from Yankee Atomic Power in 2002.
Asbestos has been widely used in power generation facilities as a flame retardant and insulator against both heat and electrical current. Electric wiring, panel partitions, and electrical cloth all contained asbestos prior to the 1980s. Asbestos insulation was used to pack electrical conduits. The materials used to build the housing facility were also manufactured with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
Vermont (VT) 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.
Vermont (VT) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
A search through the Vermont Federal District Court Cases for asbestos-related personal injury product liability lawsuits, such as Vermont mesothelioma lawsuits, brings up no recent cases.
Vermont is ranked 46 in the U.S. for mesothelioma cases. With a malignant mesothelioma mortality rate of 14.55 per million, Vermont has a crude mortality rank of 13 in the country.
In Vermont, there are a number of known asbestos-exposed areas. These include Beecher Falls Manufacturing, Brandon Training School, Gilman Paper Co., Springfield Hospital, and Stowe Insurance Co. In Brattleboro, Brattleboro High School, Brattleboro Brattleboro Hospital, Brattleboro Hildreth Printing, and Brattleboro Howard Johnson’s are all asbestos-exposed areas. Others are University of Vermont Medical Building, Burlington Power Co., Burlington Telephone Company, Mary Fletcher Hospital, General Electric, IBM and University of Vermont in Burlington; IBM in Essex Junction; Montpelier Capitol Office Building, Montpelier Senior Citizen House Project, National Life Insurance Newport and Newport Hospital in Montpelier; Yankee Atomic Power in Reedsborough; Rutland High School and Rutland Hospital in Rutland; Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon; the VA Hospital in White River Junction; and Hogback Ski Area-Dorms in Willmington.
Individuals living or working near these areas should be checked regularly for signs of mesothelioma or other types of asbestos cancer in order to file any lawsuits within the state’s statute of limitations, something a Vermont mesothelioma lawyer will be able to help you with. 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.
In terms of wrongful death suits, in 2006, Vermont’s Supreme Court ruled that if the decedent has no living spouse, children or parents, the surviving sibling may file a wrongful death suit seeking damages for loss of companionship. A Vermont statute provides that in a wrongful death case the court jury may award damages with regard to pecuniary injuries to the wife, husband, or next of kin of the decedent. The Court had previously held that pecuniary injuries do not have to be limited to economic losses, but can also include recovery for loss of a child’s or spouse’s companionship, as well as loss of care, nurture, and protection. The court ruled that if a sibling, when next of kin of the decedent, submits evidence of the emotional, physical, and psychological relationship with the decedent, it is appropriate to award damages.
In Carter v. Fred’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc., Vermont courts found that a plumber who developed asbestosis at least 19 years after his work-related exposure to asbestos was subject to the statue of limitations defined in the Occupational Disease Act, which was in force at the time of his last exposure. Since that act specified compensation was only payable if disablement occurred within five years of a work-related injury, the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed.
In another key case in the state, Sheltra v. Vermont Asbestos Group, Vermont courts accepted the claimant’s argument that the statue of limitations should begin at the time of discovery if discovery occurred after July 1999, when the discovery rule for occupational disease was established. The Legislature then amended the Occupational Disease Act to provide for the discovery rule, thus removing the harsh results that would have occurred for injuries that take a long time to manifest, such as mesothelioma, under the repealed Occupational Disease Act.
Those interested in filing a Vermont mesothelioma lawsuit should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Vermont is three years 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, and that a Vermont mesothelioma lawyer will work with you in order to make sure that important deadlines are not missed. Wrongful death cases are limited to a two-year statute of limitations with the same discovery rule. There is no special statute for asbestos cases in Vermont.