Mesothelioma is a terrible cancer of the lung lining that is painful and nearly always fatal. The disease focuses on the mesothelial cells that are in the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity. The mesothelium that is formed by these cells helps to protect your organs by making a lubricating fluid that lets the organs move about without causing pain and irritation of the nerves.
The cancer has been a serious problem in Texas in recent years, and this is reflected in statistics. It is estimated from 1999 to 2015 that 2,200 residents of Texas died from mesothelioma. Many of the people who have died worked in the following industries in Texas:
- Oil refineries
- Chemical plants
The CDC reports that Texas features a mortality rate from the cancer of five people per million. Texas has eight known asbestos sites. Two of them are former mines. Orange and Jefferson counties have higher rates for mesothelioma than other counties, according to the CDC. The CDC also estimates there were 1,307 mesothelioma deaths in Texas from 2001 through 2010. (CDC.gov).
If you have developed mesothelioma and live in or worked in Texas where you were exposed to asbestos, you have several options available for compensation and legal claims. But it is important to have an overview of mesothelioma in Texas first.
How Common Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, with about 3,000 people diagnosed per year in the US and a few hundred in Texas each year. But unfortunately, it is one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat cancers. People who are diagnosed usually do not live more than a few years.
One of the central problems with the disease is that the cancer is spread throughout the lining of major organs, usually the lungs, but sometimes the stomach, intestines and even the heart. Because it is so widespread, it is much harder to treat effectively.
The rate of this deadly cancer has been leveling off in recent times in most states. Most of the changes have been in men; this is probably because there is much less asbestos used in the workplace than decades ago. However, keep in mind there is a long latency period for mesothelioma. It is possible that people who were exposed 30 years ago to asbestos could be diagnosed with cancer years from now.
What Is the Cause of Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is not lung cancer and is not caused by smoking. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos in work-related situations. Many companies used products and materials that contained asbestos for many years, knowing the health risks to workers. But some of those companies in Texas continued to use the products even though it risked the lives of employees.
Asbestos contains tiny sharp fibers that can be inhaled into the lungs. Once they get into the lungs, the body struggles to get rid of them. Over the years of exposure, the fibers continue to build up. After many years being in the body, mutations can occur and mesothelioma cancer can develop. (Cancer.org). The cancer is very hard to treat and people often do not know they have it until the end stages when breathing becomes painful and labored. At that point, there is little to be done in many cases other than to treat the pain.
Major Risk Factors for Mesothelioma in Texas
Some workers in Texas and other states are more likely to develop the cancer than others. Major risk factors in the Lone Star State are:
- Working in a mine for asbestos or in a plant that processes asbestos
- Working in higher risk occupations, such as heavy industry or construction
- Working on military ships or working in military facilities where asbestos is present
- Living in an area that is close to an asbestos mine
- Breaking into materials that contain asbestos during home renovations
Texas Sites of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos has been used widely in Texas in a variety of industries, which has led to a higher number of mesothelioma deaths:
Dallas and Houston and other Texas cities are home to oil refineries, such as Phillips Pride Refining. Oil refineries are a huge industry in Texas, and are responsible for thousands of jobs. But this also means more Texans have faced exposure to asbestos over the decades. Asbestos was frequently used in the construction of oil refineries as it could easily resist heat that is common in the oil and gas industry.
Texas is on the Gulf of Mexico, so it has been a very popular location for shipyards and the building of ships for nearly 100 years. Some of the most well known shipyards in Texas are Bridge Shipyard, Port Adams Shipyard, Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corp., and others. Thousands of Texans have worked at these sites, and they were always at risk of asbestos exposure as ships were built and repaired.
Approximately 30% of all mesothelioma diagnoses in Texas and other states are due to work in the US military. Asbestos was used widely throughout the military. Ships airplanes and buildings on US military bases were just a handful of the areas where US military members may have been exposed to asbestos during their military service. Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin is a known site of asbestos, as is the US naval station in Corpus Christi.
There are many manufacturing facilities in Texas that put workers at risk of asbestos exposure. Some of the companies that have been found to have products and materials with asbestos are Pathfinder Manufacturing and Chevron Phillips Plastics. Equipment in these and other companies often contained products with asbestos, such as gaskets to protect against high temperatures.
Some of the chemical plants in Texas include Dow Chemical, Phillips Chemical Company, and Nalco Chemical Plant. These facilities often contained a lot of materials with asbestos in areas of construction, equipment and protective clothing.
Texas Asbestos Exposure Laws
The laws in Texas have tightened a great deal in recent years regarding asbestos exposure and abatement. The DSHS in Texas handles the state and federal requirements for the safe and proper disposal of materials that contain asbestos in the state. The DSHS administers all asbestos abatement work in the state and ensures that the work that is being done strictly adheres to abatement procedures that are the law in Texas.
Asbestos workers, inspectors, contractors and related professionals need to be certified through courses that are accredited by the DSHS. Certification is important because it ensures that workers that may work with asbestos know that issues that can come up during the removal and disposal of the dangerous mineral. Certification is required for the following occupations when the worker is handling asbestos:
It is required to tell the DSHS at least ten working days before you work on any construction project that involves materials that contain asbestos.
Settlements and Awards in Texas for Mesothelioma
There have been a number of well-publicized mesothelioma settlements in Texas in the last decade. One of them was for a Texas couple awarded $3 million in a mesothelioma lawsuit in 2013. The award was due to the husband’s exposure to asbestos when he worked for Union Carbide, a manufacturer of chemicals and polymer that used many materials containing asbestos in their daily business.
Oscar Torres was a worker for Union Carbide in Texas in the 1970s. He was diagnosed with the deadly cancer in 2009, and claimed that his work at the company led to his disease. The lawsuit was filed against Union Carbide, as well as Gerlock Sealing Technologies and Brown & Root.
Texas Mesothelioma Attorneys
If you think you were exposed to asbestos in your work in Texas, or just from living near a facility that worked with asbestos, and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it is important to consult with a mesothelioma attorney in the Lone Star State. Mesothelioma attorneys can review your case for free and determine if you could be due compensation. Below are some successful mesothelioma attorneys in Texas to consider.
Baron & Budd, P.C.
3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, #1100
Dallas TX 75219
Baron and Budd, P.C. is an experienced mesothelioma lawsuit firm that frequently represents Texans who were exposed to asbestos by negligent companies. They often represent US military veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their careers. However, these lawyers do not sue the US government. Instead, they file suit against companies that provided the US military with asbestos-containing products.
Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, LLP
801 Laurel Street
Beaumont TX 77701
Most of the clients of this Texas mesothelioma lawsuit firm are hardworking Texans who have been hurt due to the negligence of companies that work or worked with asbestos-containing materials. People often choose Reaud, Morgan & Quinn because they have a proven track record in winning large settlements and verdicts in mesothelioma cases.
8441 Gulf Freeway #600
Houston TX 77017
Williams Kherkher is a very well respected asbestos exposure and mesothelioma law firm that represents people across the state of Texas that suffer from an asbestos-related disease. This Texas law firm can help you determine if you may be eligible for compensation for your mesothelioma, asbestosis or other related condition.
- Asbestos Abatement in Texas. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dshs.texas.gov/asbestos/faq.shtm
- Mesothelioma Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/eworld/Data/804
- What Causes Mesothelioma? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html