Washington, D.C. is located between Maryland and Virginia on the Potomac River and is the national capital of the United States.
Many people might be surprised to learn that many government buildings on Capitol Hill, such as embassies, military buildings, and public offices, were built with asbestos. When these buildings are torn down or renovated, asbestos may be released in the air and harm workers and passers-by.
Each military branch has a minimum of one base in the city, and these facilities are notorious for having high levels of asbestos. Washington, D.C. has three Army bases, one Air Force base, three Coast Guard bases, two naval bases, and a Marine base. Military facilities such as Bolling Air Force Base and Fort McNair were required to have asbestos as insulation when they were constructed. Those who served and lived in those bases may have been exposed to asbestos. (asbestos.net)
High-Risk Industries for Asbestos Exposure in Washington, D.C.
One of the occupations most at risk in Washington, D.C. for asbestos exposure is construction. Because most of the buildings in the nation’s capital were built before the 1980s, most of the hotels, embassies, offices, and museums were built with asbestos. Construction workers who are employed to repair or tear down these buildings face a high risk of asbestos exposure if proper safety equipment is not used.
Also, maintenance workers in underground tunnels beneath Capitol Hill are at risk for asbestos exposure and getting mesothelioma. According to recent air tests, asbestos levels in these tunnels were found to be up to 40 times higher than normal.
But workers were not told about the asbestos dust and did not have breathing equipment. In fact, proper safety equipment was not given to them until 2006 when respirators were mandated. Seven out of 10 tunnel workers got asbestosis and all of them are at risk for getting mesothelioma. (asbestos.com)
Some of the sites where asbestos contamination has been found are:
- MLK Library
- Naval Research Laboratory
- Union Station Metro Stop
- Washington Navy Yard
- George Washington University Rice Hall
- Bolling Air Force Base
- Farragut North Metro Stop
- Marine Safety Center
- The Pentagon
- Walter Reed Army Medical Center
- Coast Guard Headquarters
High-Risk Jobsites for Asbestos Exposure in Washington, D.C.
Capitol Hill has more than 20 federal buildings. By 1870, construction workers were constructing buildings with electrical wiring and piped water, and often used construction materials coated with asbestos to protect against heat and fire for the lighting and plumbing. It is believed that workers in the House and Senate building offices, Library of Congress and US Marine Barracks also may have been exposed to the toxic mineral in the old buildings. (mesothelioma.net)
The Washington Navy Yard was a shipbuilding facility until the Warr of 1812. By WWII, it was made into the biggest ordnance plant for the US Navy. It made heavy weapons such as battleship guns and torpedoes.
During this era, the use of asbestos was widespread at The Yard. Ships were built with asbestos insulation to prevent onboard fires, and factory equipment was heavily insulated with asbestos to lower the risk of machinery overheating. Yard workers also were exposed to dangerous asbestos on iron and steel casting equipment and blast furnaces.
Several employees for the Federal Election Committee in 2018 were concerned about possible asbestos exposure that occurred in the 1990s. The DC headquarters for the commission was emptied for renovations in March 2018. Employees saw an asbestos remediation notice after they moved out. This caused them to remember major interior remodeling in the 1990s. It is not fully certain at this time whether employees were exposed to asbestos or not during these renovations.
Washington, D.C. Asbestos Lawsuits
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. has been handling more asbestos exposure lawsuits in recent years. The Court decided two class-action lawsuits in 1997 and 1999 and has addressed several petitions made by asbestos trusts to review lower courts’ past decisions on asbestos-related legal actions.
During the class-action lawsuit in 1997, 20 former asbestos insurers and manufacturers, such as National Gypsum Company and A.P. Green Industries, offered a settlement plan for pending and future asbestos claims. It also devised an administrative process and payment schedule for asbestos exposure victims compensation based on the worker’s asbestos exposure history and their health problems.
For instance, mesothelioma victims would receive $20,000 to $200,000. These amounts are much less than a typical mesothelioma verdict payout. The plan did not offer any compensation for medical monitoring to people who were exposed to asbestos without any evidence of disease. It also did not allow asbestos exposure family members to receive funds for loss of consortium. Also, victims who filed claims against this group of companies after Jan. 15, 1993 would have their claims rejected.
The 1999 class action had similar issues, which was filed by Fibreboard Corporation. This was a major asbestos manufacturer that had been hit with asbestos litigation since 1950. In 1990, the firm proposed a settlement of all of the company’s asbestos liability, which would pay $1.5 billion among 45,000 asbestos exposure victims.
During both class-actions, lawyers for plaintiffs asked who would qualify for the class and how funds would be dispursed. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected both actions because they would not include future claimants and would not distribute awards fairly.
Washington, D.C. Mesothelioma Attorney Information
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact one of the mesothelioma attorneys below:
1330 Boylston Street, #400
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
The mesothelioma attorneys at Sokolove Law understand how physically, emotionally, and financially difficult it is for you or your loved one to suffer with a mesothelioma diagnosis. The attorneys at this law firm are highly experienced in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation and have a strong record of success for their clients.
Brown Kiely LLP
4915 Saint Elmo Avenue, Suite 510
Bethesda MD 20814
If you have been exposed to asbestos and have mesothelioma, contact the law office of Brown Kiely LLP. Their attorneys have many years of experience fighting for the rights of mesothelioma and other personal injury victims. You may be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering, lost earnings, medical bills, and more.
Price Benowitz LLP
409 7th St. SW #100
Washington, D.C., 20004
Price Benowitz LLP has experience handling all kinds of personal injury claims, including mesothelioma and asbestos legal actions. Their attorneys are dedicated to and passionate about their personal injury work. They can help you get compensation for your injuries from asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
Washington DC Summary
Washington, D.C. is the home of many old buildings and facilities that were constructed with asbestos. It also is the base of many military facilities where workers may have been heavily exposed to asbestos.
If you or a loved one has an asbestos-related disease and you worked in an organization based in Washington, D.C., talk to a licensed mesothelioma attorney today.