Virginia is located amongst the rolling Appalachian Mountains. However, the state is naturally abundant in the asbestos mineral. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral which is incredibly heat resistant and a good conductor of sound and electricity, rendering it a sought-out material for industrial uses in the past century. However, it wasn’t until the past several decades that the dangers and severe health risks of asbestos were understood and recognized.
Mesothelioma Cases in Virginia
Between the years of 1999 and 2015, there have been 1,248 Virginia resident deaths from mesothelioma. The state has a relatively high mesothelioma death rate, with about 15 deaths per million people annually. Vermont also has the highest concentration of deaths occurring in the National Capital Region and around Chesapeake Bay.
Natural asbestos deposits have been discovered in at least 24 of Virginia’s counties, with man-made asbestos use in a variety of different industries such as shipbuilding, mining, oil and gas.
The response towards mesothelioma cases in Virginia is promising, however. In March of 2011, a Virginia jury awarded a former shipbuilding worker $25 million in a lawsuit against Exxon after he developed mesothelioma in the 1960s and 1970s working as a shipfitter on multiple Exxon oil tankers.
Also, in 2008, the Virginia family of a former shipbuilding employee was compensated with $10 million after passing away from mesothelioma.
Asbestos Use in Virginia
The EPA enforced regulations on asbestos beginning in the 1970s, while asbestos-containing materials were already used for decades in Virginia.
Unlike many other states, the environmental, natural exposure to asbestos is a prominent health concern in many locations in Virginia. The asbestos mineral is usually safely locked away in the rocks of the earth’s crust. However, human activities such as mining and construction have aggravated some deposits, thereby releasing asbestos fibres into the air.
Some of the highest concentrations of asbestos are found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, along the Maryland and Washington D.C. borders.
There are a variety of mines in Virginia (both currently or no longer operating) that placed many workers and their families at risk of asbestos exposure. Nonoperative mines in Richmond and Louisa County actually mined for vermiculite, which is nontoxic, but often forms beside asbestos, causing a risk of contamination.
Other Asbestos Uses in Virginia
Several construction and industrial occupations used asbestos-containing materials as well as protective gear that placed their employees and their families at risk of mesothelioma. Because it can take upwards of 20 years for mesothelioma and asbestos-related complications to arise, many individuals that were exposed to the toxin decades ago could experience health issues now.
Miners, shipyard workers, power plant and mill employees are some of the most prominent types of workers that may have been exposed to asbestos in Virginia.
Virginia Asbestos Laws and Regulations
The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) is in charge of monitoring asbestos through enforcement of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) rules. They also enforce the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) and the Asbestos Notification regulations. The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) in Virginia is in charge of overseeing all company and individual licensing.
Asbestos Removal and Disposal in Virginia
The Department of Environmental Quality in Virginia is in charge of overseeing the management of landfills in the state. Under state law, a notification is required for any asbestos abatement project. Notifications are also required for all renovation or demolition projects, regardless of whether asbestos-containing materials may not be present in the structure.
Any asbestos worker involved in asbestos abatement projects needs to be certified and licensed by the state of Virginia, and is prohibited from conducting any related work without license.
Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Claims
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you want to file a mesothelioma lawsuit in Virginia, you only have a specific amount of time—a regulation called a statute of limitations. If a patient passes away from mesothelioma before they have a chance to file a personal injury lawsuit, direct family members can file a claim but also within a limited timeframe.
Virginia’s statute of limitations on personal injury mesothelioma claims is 2 years after diagnosis. For family members in Virginia, it’s 2 years after death from mesothelioma for wrongful death claims.
Retaining a Virginia Mesothelioma Lawyer
Mesothelioma litigation is a complex legal field requiring experience to help you. That’s why it’s essential to seek experienced and specialized mesothelioma attorney who can help you understand your legal options.
Virginia residents who have developed mesothelioma can contact our Justice Support Team today for more information.