Oregon Mesothelioma Attorneys and Asbestos Cancer Resources (OR)
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Oregon (OR) Asbestos Information:
Located in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. – and therefore part of the Pacific Rim – Oregon has strong ties to the sea and maritime industries. It should therefore come as no surprise that most of the asbestos-related illnesses are found in those who were employed in these maritime industries – particularly the many ship construction and repair facilities in the state.
A Major Asbestos Hazard
The lives of those at sea have always been dangerous. However, there are few dangers more frightening to even veteran seamen than a shipboard fire. Such fires burn fast and hot, and the only escape is over the side – which is not necessarily a better option.
It was because of one such fire back in 1934 that shipbuilders began using copious amounts of asbestos nearly everywhere in sea-going vessels.
Unfortunately, the environment below decks is a confined one in which friable asbestos fibers can become highly concentrated. Medical researchers agree that an individual’s likelihood of contracting an asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis or mesothelioma is directly related to (A) the concentration of the exposure and (B) the length of time during which the individual was exposed.
The Krstev Study
Carried out under the auspices of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, the Krstev study focused on the mortality rates of 4,700 shipyard workers employed by the U.S. Coast Guard between 1950 and 1964, based on shipyard and lifetime work history evaluations, adjusted for factors such as age, gender and ethnic background.
The study found an increase in mortality from respiratory cancers and malignant mesothelioma, among other diseases. This represented a “small but significant excess mortality” from lung cancer and mesothelioma, according to the researchers’ conclusion.
Where There’s Fire
Asbestos is commonly used wherever there is danger from heat, fire or corrosive chemicals. There are several chemical plants located within Oregon, including Borden, Chevron, Chipman, Rhone-Poulenc and Stouffer. The type of asbestos used in chemical factories is likely to be amosite (“brown asbestos”) or crocidolite (“blue” asbestos), both of which are more resistant to chemical corrosion–and both of which are of the particularly deadly amphibole variety.
Amphibole asbestos differs from the more common chrysotile variety in that the fibers are rigid and spear-like. When inhaled, they essentially burrow through lung tissue, emerging on the outside. During this process, these fibers interact with cellular DNA on some level, causing them to become cancerous, although medical science is not quite certain exactly how this happens.
The Portland Shell Oil Refinery
Petroleum products are as volatile chemically as they are politically and economically. Fire danger is a constant hazard wherever petrochemicals are processed.
There is also a correspondingly high rate of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma among oil workers. A recent U.K. study of 43,000 industry employees showed that men who had actually worked in the refinery itself (not those who transported and delivered the product) suffered from substantially higher levels of mesothelioma.
Other Oregon Industries
Portland Gas and Coke, the now defunct Hercules Powder Company, and the Georgia-Pacific Resin Plant are other industries that made use of asbestos, for obvious reasons. These were primarily located in and around the Portland-Multnomah County area, but could also be found in Bend, Eugene, Hood River, Klamath Falls, McMinnville, Medford, Salem, St. Helens, and The Dalles.
In a case from 1999, Robert Bush v. Kaiser Gypsum, a Portland worker developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung disease. He was exposed to building materials that contained asbestos. The products were manufactured by Kaiser Gypsum, which was accused of not taking adequate care in preventing illness and exposure.
Those interested in contacting an Oregon mesothelioma lawyer to file a lawsuit should know that the statute of limitations for personal injury law in Oregon 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 have a three-year statute of limitations and the standard discovery rule. There is no specific statute about asbestos in Oregon.