Virginia (VA) Asbestos Information:
When one looks at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Asbestos Map of the United States – which shows all naturally-occurring asbestos deposits in the country as well as areas in which it has been prospected and mined – one is struck by the pattern of such deposits that follows Appalachian Mountains from northeastern Alabama all the way up through Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, into the mid-Atlantic States and stretching up into Vermont and Quebec.
These asbestos deposits were formed by the same geologic processes that raised the Appalachian Mountains back before the time of the dinosaurs. As a result, Virginia has an abundance of asbestos deposits scattered along the Blue Ridge. A large cluster of these are located in a highly populated area just west of Washington D.C. along the Maryland state line. Two old asbestos sites, one of which is a “past producer,” are located on the north and south edges of the metropolitan Richmond area; the remainder is found along the east slope of the Appalachians to the southwest.
Virginia’s Asbestos Victims
During the 20-year period prior to 2000, a total of 1,389 Virginians lost the battle against asbestos disease. Most of these were due to asbestosis. In Newport News, there were considerably more asbestosis deaths than those from mesothelioma; victims of the former outnumbered the latter by over three to one.
Asbestosis is far more common than malignant mesothelioma, at least in the U.S.; it is also far more treatable when caught at an early stage. Unfortunately, many people are not diagnosed in time to stop the progression of the disease.
Virginia’s industries include or have included those in which asbestos exposure is a serious problem; namely shipyards, power plants, oil refineries and chemical laboratories. Both Dow and DuPont, two of the worst corporate polluters on earth, operate facilities in Virginia.
In addition to being fire and heat resistant, asbestos – particularly amphibole fibers such as amosite and crocidolite – stand up well against corrosive acids. For this reason, these materials were often used in chemical plants, particularly on lab surfaces (work tables and counters) and protective clothing.
Asbestos is also known for being highly resistant to electricity. Virginia has numerous power generation facilities where asbestos exposure has been a problem, although this specific danger is certainly not confined to those in Virginia. A 2003 Puerto Rican study showed that 13% of x-rays taken of power plant workers displayed abnormalities associated with asbestos illness.
Asbestos was also used frequently in the machinery itself, such as turbines and generators. This kind of insulation was prone to becoming friable as it aged, as the movement of the machinery caused the loose fibers to be injected into the air. According to Center for Health Statistics data, power plant workers are among those industrial employees most likely to suffer from a form of asbestos cancer.
Shipyard workers and Navy veterans are also at high risk because of the amount of asbestos used in the construction of sea-going vessels. Some older ships are so toxic, they cannot even be scrapped.
Virginia has its own maritime industries going back practically since the founding of the original Jamestown Colony; the Lyon Shipyard, Newport News Shipbuilding, and the Norfolk and Portsmouth Naval Shipyards are all jobsites at which workers were frequently exposed to asbestos fibers – often in highly concentrated amounts. It is estimated that as many people died from asbestos illness as the result of their employment in shipyards during World War II as were killed in the in the line of duty. Mesothelioma and asbestos is frequent among naval veterans who suffer from chronic respiratory illnesses as well.
Virginia (VA) Job Sites At Risk From Asbestos Exposure:
Over the course of the last century, hundreds of thousands of workers were exposed to asbestos while on the job – and for the most part, they were not warned. Below is a list of Job sites from the state of Virginia (VA) where workers were potentially and unnecessarily put at risk:
Lyon Shipyard, Inc.: Norfolk, VA
Newport News Shipyard: Newport News, VA
Norfolk Naval Shipyard: Portsmouth, VA
Virginia (VA) 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.
Virginia (VA) Mesothelioma Lawyer & Legal Resources:
A search through the Virginia Federal District Court Cases for asbestos-related personal injury product liability lawsuits such as mesothelioma lawsuits brings up an extensive list of over fifty lawsuits filed by Virginia mesothelioma lawyers from 2006 and 2007. Many of these cases are petitions for and notices of removal from asbestos litigation; the defendants regularly include Amchem Products Inc. and American Air Liquide Corp. One of the regular defendants in cases that are not petitions for removal is American Standard, Inc.
Virginia is ranked 10 in the U.S. for mesothelioma cases. With a mesothelioma mortality rate of 13.67 per million, Virginia has a crude mortality rank of 17 in the country. Part of the reason why Virginia tends to have a high rate of asbestos and a large number of asbestos cases stems from the fact that the state is known for its shipbuilding industry, and that industry has in the past extensively used asbestos products.
In Virginia, there are a number of known asbestos-exposed areas. These include the Alexandria VA Hospital and Patco Electric in Alexandria, the Bremo Bluff Electric Tank & Plant in Fork Union, the Fort Lee Boiler Room & Electric Co and the Hopewell Plant in Hopewell, the Lasalle Atomic Powerhouse, the North Anna Powerhouse and the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant in Mineral and Newport News Shipbuilding . In Norfolk alone, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Shop, the Lyon Shipyard Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are known sites. Other known asbestos-exposed areas in Virginia include the Norfolk Western Railroad in Roanoke, the Surry Nuclear Power Plant, the Swanton Tannery, Dupont in Washington, the Chesapeake Paper Powerhouse in West Point, and BP Amoco in York Town. Richmond has five known asbestos-exposed areas: Chesterfield Electric, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Primary Refining, and Richmond College.
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, and are encouraged to contact a Virginia mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after a diagnosis. 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.
One key asbestos case in Virginia involved Vaughn Oney, a man who was employed at Newport News Naval Shipyard between 1963 and 1973 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2004, as a result of his exposure to asbestos at the shipyard. He passed away in 2005. A Virginia circuit court awarded his widow $9.25 million as compensation for her late husband’s suffering and death. The defendants in the case were two shipbuilding suppliers: John Crane, Inc., a multi-national company that used asbestos in its gasket and sealant products; and Garlock Sealing Technologies, a Palmyra, New York, company that made the same products. Crane was ordered to pay 60% of the amount, with Garlock responsible for the rest.
Those interested in filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in Virginia should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Virginia is two 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. Wrongful death cases are limited to a two-year statute of limitations with the same discovery rule. However, lawsuits for personal injuries or wrongful death arising from real estate improvements are subject to a five-year statute of limitations. There is no special statute for asbestos cases in Virginia.