Mesothelioma is one of the worst cancers you can get. It has a very low five-year survivability rate. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. In 80% of patients, mesothelioma affects the pleura or lining of the lungs; this type of cancer is called pleural mesothelioma. This mostly fatal cancer also can affect the membranes that coat the other major organs: testicles, heart stomach, intestines, etc.
Approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in America. The cancer is one of the rarest, but it is extremely aggressive, difficult to treat, and normally fatal within a few years. One of the challenges with mesothelioma is it can be mistaken for other conditions. The patient and his doctor may be unaware of something is wrong until the mesothelioma is in stage 4 and breathing is painful. Mesothelioma is an especially frustrating disease because it can be almost entirely prevented by eliminating asbestos exposure.
Washington State and Mesothelioma Exposure
Many workers in Washington state were exposed to materials containing asbestos over many years. CDC estimates 1,338 residents of Washington state died from mesothelioma from 1999 to 2015. The mesothelioma rate in the state is 12.2 per million people and is well above the national average. Another problem with this state is it has at least 34 asbestos deposits and mines. Kitsap and Mason counties in the state have the highest mortality rates from mesothelioma. The northeastern counties of Stevens, Ferry, and Pend Oreille also have very high death rates from mesothelioma.
If you were an employee in heavy industries and/or mining in Washington state and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you might want to talk to a skilled mesothelioma attorney right away. You only have a limited time from the diagnosis date to file, so make sure you call an attorney today.
At the end of this page, we list three mesothelioma lawsuit firms that can help you determine the validity of your case.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
In almost all cases, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. When the deadly mineral is processed, mined, disturbed or worked with, invisible shards bloom into the air. They can be sucked into the lungs or ingested by mouth. These tiny shards get stuck in the linings of the organs – the lungs in particular. Your lungs will work hard to expel the foreign material but they usually cannot get rid of all of them. Some of the deadly asbestos shards stick in the lungs for decades. In a few workers, this can lead to dangerous genetic mutations that cause mesothelioma. Some people do not develop mesothelioma for decades after their initial exposure. (Cancer.org)
Washington State Sites of Asbestos Exposure
The Cascade, Okanogan and Rocky Mountain ranges have high amounts of serpentine rock. This is the source of almost all commercial grade asbestos. There are five large asbestos mines in the northern area of Washington. There further are several deposits of serpentine rock in the middle of the state near Wenatchee and Ellensburg.
The Pacific Coast of the Northwest is a large commercial shipping center. There are ports in Puget Sound and other areas on the coast of Washington. Thus, major cities such as Tacoma, Seattle, and Vancouver all have large shipyards with a bad history of exposing shipbuilders and dock workers to asbestos; large amounts of the material were used in ocean-going vessels for decades. Some of the shipyards located in this state are Talbott Shipyard, Kaiser Shipyard, and Voyage Repair Station.
For many years, the timber and lumber industries have been the heart of the economy of Washington State, plus paper and paper products. Even today, asbestos-containing materials are still found in the paper and pulp mills of the state. They were used in the machinery and materials to make the paper, such as drying felts and special adhesives that were employed to make them stick. Some of the timer and paper companies that work in the state are Scott Paper Company, Anderson Middleton Lumber Company, EK Wood Lumber Company, and Weyerhauser Timber Company.
Washington State is the first port for tankers cruising from Alaska and is naturally home to many refineries to process oil. Petroleum is a dangerous substance at every stage of production, materials made from asbestos were used in most parts of the refineries, such as fire doors, and also protection materials for workers, including in overcoats, hoods, and gloves. Some of the major petroleum companies that may have exposed workers knowingly to asbestos were BP Oil, Chevron Chemical, Shell Oil, Texaco, and Mobil.
There have been several asbestos lawsuits in Washington state filed by ex-employees of several large aluminum plants. Aluminum production is an important part of the economy and has been since WWII. The manufacturing process for aluminum requires high levels of heat, so asbestos was used to offer workers and machinery protection from fire and heat. Companies such as ALCOA Aluminum in Vancouver and Wenatchee are very well known to have exposed workers to asbestos on the job. Other guilty companies were Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, INTALCO Aluminum, Columbia Aluminum, and Harvey Aluminum.
Washington State Asbestos Exposure Laws
There have been several laws enacted in recent years in Washington state to prevent exposure to asbestos. The state laws govern these areas: (WA.gov)
- Building owners: They are required to have their buildings checked for asbestos before renovation, construction and demolition activities by certified inspectors.
- Construction contractors: Disturbing asbestos materials in a construction project is dangerous. Before beginning any construction, it is required to obtain an asbestos report in writing from the owner of the building or his agent.
- Asbestos abatement workers: Anyone who works in handling or removing asbestos in the state needs to be certified, and most tell the state government of any abatement projects they will do 10 days before beginning.
Washington State Mesothelioma Attorneys
The death rate from mesothelioma in Washington is higher than average. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition, discuss your case with one of the Washington mesothelioma attorneys below. Some may be located in other states but are both licensed and experienced in Washington state mesothelioma cases.
Schroeter, Goldmark and Bender
810 Third Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle WA 98104
For years, the mesothelioma attorneys at SGB have assisted Washington families devastated by a mesothelioma diagnosis. Our attorneys live and practice in the state, and have the local knowledge of the judges and juries who hear these cases, as well as the products produced in the state that caused asbestos exposure. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Brayton & Purcell LLP
806 SW Broadway #1100
Portland OR 97205
Throughout Washington, the Brayton Purcell law firm has been highly successful with many multi-million dollar settlements in favor of personal injury clients. Its casework has included large, multi-million dollar verdicts in mesothelioma cases. The firm encourages you to contact them right away if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition.
Weinstein Courture PLLC
601 Union Street
Seattle, Washington 98101
This experienced Washington law firm is proud to represent victims and their families affected by asbestos exposure and mesothelioma in Seattle, throughout Washington and on the West Coast. These cases are very complex and require an intricate understanding of the law and the strategy to take for the ideal solution and the highest compensation.
- Asbestos Abatement Requirements. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/LicensingReq/Asbestos/default.asp
- What Causes Mesothelioma? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html