Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer of the lung lining that is caused by asbestos exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma in the US every year. It is a painful, nearly always fatal cancer with a very low five year survival rate in the single digits.
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are common in Louisiana. In this state, there were and still are many industries and companies that used a variety of asbestos-containing materials that led to exposure to thousands of workers. Some of those workers have been diagnosed over the years with mesothelioma.
From 1999-2015, 769 Louisiana citizens died from mesothelioma. This state has an above average rate of death from the disease of 10 people per million each year, according to the CDC. While there are no known asbestos deposits in the state, the rate of mesothelioma is high in Louisiana, with the highest rates in the central and northern counties of the state. (CDC.gov).
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and lived or worked in Louisiana, you may have been exposed to asbestos. You could have a legal case for compensation in some situations. You should probably contact a mesothelioma attorney in Louisiana. We list a few top attorneys in the state at the end of this article. But first, let us take a closer look at the problem of asbestos exposure in Louisiana and across America.
How Common Is Mesothelioma?
As noted earlier, there are 3,000 new cases diagnosed per year. It is a rare cancer, but it makes up for its rarity by being especially aggressive and deadly. Few patients survive past five years. Mesothelioma is very hard to treat; it affects the lung and other organ linings and is widespread throughout the chest and abdominal cavities. The tumors are not in just one location, so surgery, radiation and even chemotherapy are not very effective.
The rate of mesothelioma is lower in Louisiana than it was years ago. This is probably because there is much less asbestos used in Louisiana industry than in past decades. But it can take up to 50 years between asbestos exposure and diagnosis. So someone who was exposed on the job to deadly asbestos fibers 30 years ago may be diagnosed in the future.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is not lung cancer and smoking does not cause it. But if you smoke, you can increase the chances of getting mesothelioma. Many companies in Louisiana and around the country used asbestos containing products and materials for many years, knowing they were dangerous to workers. Even after the many health risks of asbestos exposure were documented, some employers in Louisiana continued to use the deadly material in their businesses.
Asbestos is very dangerous to the human body because it contains very tiny, sharp fibers that are inhaled into the lungs during exposure. The body struggles to rid itself of the material, but some shards can be lodged in the lung lining for decades. Over time, this can cause mutations that lead to mesothelioma. (Cancer.org).
Major Risk Factors for Asbestos Exposure in Louisiana
Some workers in higher risk occupations had a high exposure risk to asbestos over the decades. Common exposure risks in Louisiana were:
- Working in manufacturing facilities that contained asbestos in the products, walls, insulation, etc.
- Working on US military ships and in shipyards
- Living in an area that is close to a facility that handles asbestos processing
- Doing renovation projects on old Louisiana buildings that expose workers to asbestos.
Louisiana Sites of Asbestos Exposure
Because Louisiana is located on the Gulf Coast, much of the culture and livelihood in the state is rooted to the ocean and the endpoint of the Mississippi River.
Louisiana has a long, storied history of offshore drilling and oil refineries. Both of them due to their working with oil, gas and other flammable chemicals means companies used a lot of asbestos to prevent fires from breaking out. Some of the largest oil companies on earth have oil drilling rigs and refineries, such as BP Amoco, Citgo, Shell Oil and Texaco. Each of these giant companies have exposed their workers to asbestos over the years.
Because it is a coastal state, Louisiana is a natural location for shipyard construction. Throughout US history, the state has seen many facilities specializing in boast construction and repair. One of the most well known shipbuilding companies in Louisiana is Avondale Shipyards, which had several locations throughout the state.
Other shipbuilders in the state that have exposed workers to asbestos on the job are Bollinger Shipyard, Higgins Industries and Todd Shipyard.
A research study on cement plants in the state showed higher rates of cancer in workers in those buildings. Some of Louisiana cement companies used chrysotile asbestos and others used amphibole asbestos. Most asbestos manufacturers changed to chrysotile in the 1960s, but both can cause mesothelioma, so workers were still diagnosed with the deadly cancer.
Rice has been a major food source in Louisiana for 200 years, but the production of this key crop has caused a high level of asbestos exposure for many workers. A lot of the deadly material was used in mills and harvesting machines. Major corporations such as Abbeville Rice Mill, Acadia Vermilion Rice Irrigation, and Louisiana Rice Milling all have had asbestos exposure cases. Other rice related companies in the state that may have exposed workers are Crowley Rice Milling Company and Simon Rice Mill.
As in most states, Louisiana power plants in the past contained high levels of asbestos to provide insulation against heat and electricity in power generators. Some of the power companies that had asbestos in their facilities include Central Louisiana Electric Company, Southwestern Gas and Electric Company, and Louisiana Electric Co-Op.
Louisiana Asbestos Exposure Laws
Both the state of Louisiana and the federal government have regulations that cover the abatement and disposal of asbestos. Louisiana has specific rules dealing with asbestos demolition and removal that follow the federal requirements under NESHAP for asbestos. Also, Louisiana has rules that mandate schools and public buildings to find and abate any asbestos problems in their facilities. National OSHA asbestos exposure standards also apply to all workplaces in the state of Louisiana. (Blr.com).
Louisiana Mesothelioma Attorneys
If you were an employee in Louisiana who was exposed to asbestos on the job and you have developed mesothelioma, it is recommended to talk to an experienced attorney in Louisiana. Below are some good attorneys to check out.
Nebelett, Beard & Arsenault
2220 Bonaventure Court
Alexandria LA 71301
This well-respected Louisiana law firm has several attorneys who specialize in mesothelioma cases. If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, this law firm may be able to help you to get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering with a wrongful death lawsuit for asbestos exposure.
Reaud, Morgan & Quinn LLP
Galleria Tower I, 2700
Post Oak Blvd. Suite 1120
Houston TX 77056
This respected law firm is experienced in successfully handling mesothelioma lawsuits that have resulted in large settlements and awards. It also is experienced in getting payments for injured workers from asbestos trust funds.
- Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality – 1999 to 2015. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6608a3.htm
- What Causes Mesothelioma? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html
- Hazardous Substances and Materials – Asbestos in Louisiana. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.blr.com/Workplace-Safety/Hazardous-Substances-and-Materials/Asbestos–in-Louisiana
- Best Mesothelioma Lawyers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mesolawsuitafterdeath.com/legal/best-mesothelioma-law-firms-navy-veterans/