Mesothelioma is cancer that invades the delicate membranes that line our major organs. The most common type of the disease is pleural mesothelioma that attacks the lung lining. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal organs. Both cancers are aggressive and difficult to treat, and the five-year survivability rate is just 5-10%.
Occupational asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma in most cases. When a worker handles or disturbs asbestos, invisible particles go airborne and can be inhaled or swallowed. When this happens for months or years, the tissue in the lungs or abdomen can become scarred and inflamed, which can lead to DNA changes and cancer in some people. (Mayoclinic.org)
Hawaii and Asbestos Exposure
Most asbestos exposure in Hawaii occurs at work, but there are many buildings in Hawaii that were constructed before 1980 and contain asbestos.
Government officials in the state have been closely monitoring public buildings to ensure that buildings that contain asbestos are not exposing anyone to danger. Schools are inspected every 180 days to ensure asbestos fibers are not being released into the air.
Hawaii Sites of Asbestos Exposure
The use of asbestos was once rampant in Hawaii. According to some health officials in the state, people live in and around asbestos all the time in drywall, floor tile, ceilings, and more. But asbestos only poses a danger if it is damaged and particles go airborne. Below is more information about areas of concern for asbestos exposure in Hawaii.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) put the Vermiculite of Hawaii plant as a priority to be cleaned up. The ATSDR stated that the factory in Honolulu received dangerous asbestos ore from the mine in Libby, Montana from the 1950s through the 1980s. While the factory stopped handling the ore in 1983, dangerous asbestos fibers may have been there until 2001.
Employees and residents were at risk of asbestos exposure for years. Some of the workers’ family members could have been victims of secondary asbestos exposure.
The EPA started a cleanup of the lot in 2001. After it was done the ATSDR stated that residents were no longer at risk of asbestos exposure. But previous residents, employees and family members should have yearly physicals to determine if they have any asbestos-related diseases.
Many military bases in Hawaii were built with asbestos-containing materials. In 2000, the dangerous mineral was found in Schofield Barracks in Oahu. At least 600 soldiers had to leave their living quarters.
Also, in 2000, the US Army did not remove asbestos properly in Fort Shafter, which is also located in Oahu. The EPA noted that the fort’s asbestos-containing materials were not wetted down when it was removed.
Pearl Harbor Naval Base
Pearl Harbor was a major operations base far before the Dec. 7, 1941, attack that brought America into World War II. After the attack, the naval base was the first line of defense in the Pacific War. From 1943 until 1945, at least 5,000 ships were at Pearl Harbor facilities, so there was a lot of asbestos exposure for workers and residents there.
Shipping is a key part of the state’s economy. Shipping was crucial in the early 20th century in whaling and fishing, and also critical in World War II when Hawaii shipping was controlled by the US government.
Today, more than 80% of all goods in the state are imported via Honolulu Harbor, which also sees 260,000 cruise ship passengers per year. Because of the large amount of asbestos used in ships for decades, it is possible that many workers and residents were exposed.
Asbestos was often used in agricultural machinery that is needed during planting, harvesting and processing various crops. The sugar industry is well known as an asbestos exposure problem in Hawaii and other states.
Companies such as Hilo Sugar Company, Hutchinson Sugar Plantation Company, and Paauhau Sugar Plantation Company have all had former workers with mesothelioma diagnoses.
Like most states, the power plants in Hawaii have caused a high level of asbestos exposure for workers. Some of the plants with the worst asbestos problems are Bechtel Power, the Hawaii Electric Light Company, and the Maui Electric Company. Asbestos was frequently used to insulate turbines and other equipment to prevent fire.
General Cleanup Operations
The Hawaiian government is working on several cleanup projects in the state to reduce further chances of asbestos-related diseases. The EPA is overseeing the cleanup of three military bases and three commercial sites in Hawaii.
Hawaii Job Sites With Asbestos Exposure
Some of the job sites with asbestos problems in Hawaii include:
- Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard
- Ford Isle Tower
- Schofield Barracks
- Libby Processing Site
Hawaii Asbestos Exposure Laws
The Hawaii Department of Health protects the public health and environment from asbestos exposure through the implementation of the Hawaii Administrative Rule. (Health.Hawaii.gov)
Some of the duties of the department as it relates to asbestos include:
- Respond to complaints about potential asbestos exposure at job sites.
- Conduct inspections of job sites undergoing renovation or demolition that may contain asbestos.
- Perform landfill inspections of sites that are permitted to contain asbestos.
- Perform audits for asbestos training providers.
- Keep track of renovation and demolition notifications from contractors and monitor sites for compliance.
Hawaii Asbestos Attorneys
Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Hawaii? Talk this qualified mesothelioma attorney below:
Bostwick & Peterson LLP
500 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 400
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813
These Hawaii personal injury mesothelioma attorneys are well-known in the state for successfully settling asbestos lawsuit claims after death and have obtained millions of dollars of compensation for mesothelioma clients. They will carefully investigate your case and determine when you were exposed to asbestos, and then will find the company responsible and hold them accountable.
Request Immediate Legal Help
With over $30 billion available for victims through asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, you are entitled to financial compensations without ever filing an asbestos, lung cancer or mesothelioma lawsuit. You need legal representation to get started. Mesothelioma & lung cancer victims qualify immediately. Complete the form or call us toll-free (800) 352-0871 immediately.