Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Alabama
Alabama has its fair share of manufacturing plants, shipyards, and other industrial sites tarnished by the legacy of asbestos. While asbestos now has limited usage in industry in the United States because of its serious health risks, people in the state (or who once worked in Alabama) still may be at risk for developing mesothelioma. This is because it takes several decades after inhalation (the primary means of exposure) for these often-fatal diseases to develop. Therefore, even if you haven’t experienced the symptoms of asbestosis, mesothelioma, or lung cancer, you may still be at risk if you or a family member worked at a high-risk work site.
The experienced attorneys at MesoLawyersCare have successfully recovered monetary compensation for workers and their families who have been injured by jobsite exposure to asbestos in Alabama and neighboring states. While individuals can be exposed to asbestos in a number of ways, the following list of worksites in Alabama are examples of places that present elevated risks for exposure to past and present workers.
1. Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Co.
The Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company (ADDSCO) in Mobile began operation in 1917 and was once one of the largest ship production facilities in the nation. After quickly expanding operations ahead of the U.S. entry into World War II, the facility reached a peak of roughly 30,000. ADDSCO shut down in the mid-1970s but reopened a few years later. The shipyard is now operated by BAE Systems and known as BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards. As with other shipyards built and operated prior to the mid-1980s (when asbestos began to be phased out), current and former workers at the yard may have been exposed to dangerous levels of airborne asbestos. Asbestos exposure often occurred when asbestos-containing materials were disturbed during the construction and overhaul of ships, and during routine maintenance and repair activities.
2. Gulf States Paper Corp.
Gulf States Paper Corp., founded in 1884, opened Alabama’s first paper mill in Demopolis in 1929. After selling the mill and much of of its other paper-related assets beginning in 2005, the company changed its name to The Westervelt Company (named after the company’s founder, Herbert Westervelt). The plant manufactured mainly paperboard (more commonly referred to as “cardboard”) products. The Demopolis plant employed 450 workers at the time of its sale and produced 327,000 tons of bleached paperboard annually. Paper mills built in the 20th century used substantial amounts of asbestos for insulation and sealants for boilers and other machinery (given the high heat generated in the manufacturing process). Workers most susceptible to asbestos-borne illnesses are those who repaired and maintained machinery and were exposed to dust from asbestos.
3. International Paper
International Paper demolished its Courtland paper mill in 2017 after shutting the facility down three years prior. The plant originally opened as Champion Paper in 1970 but was acquired by International Paper in 2000. The plant employed nearly 1,100 workers at the time of its closure, making it one of the largest employers in Lawrence County. International Paper is one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies, having started in 1898 when 18 U.S. pulp and paper mill facilities merged. The massive corporation now employs more than 60,000 workers in more than 20 countries. The company used massive amounts of asbestos containing materials primarily because of the need to insulate and seal high-heat machinery used in the manufacturing process. Asbestos was used in insulation and cements applied to boilers and pipes, and in gaskets and packing used to seal equipment.
4. Reynolds Metals
Richard S. Reynolds founded the Reynolds Metals plant in Muscle Shoals in the 1930s, prompted by the need for military airplanes for the war effort. After World War II, the plant shifted its focus to the production of aluminum foil (“Reynolds Wrap”) and eventually aluminum cans. The Reynolds Metals plant employed roughly 2,000 workers just before its acquisition by Wise Alloys in 1998, but that dipped down to 800 in 2007 after a series of layoffs. The plant currently employs just more than 1,000 people. Asbestos was used throughout this and other aluminum foundries because of the extreme temperatures used to melt and manipulate the material into finished products. Asbestos could be found throughout these facilities and was even sprayed directly onto walls, piping, ductwork, and other surfaces. Asbestos was used as insulation and components on machinery that required asbestos to function properly. Asbestos fibers would become airborne from work activities and be breathed in by many workers.
5. Daubert Chemical Co. Inc.
Chicago-based Daubert Chemical Co. Inc. was founded in 1935 and operates a several facilities throughout the United States, including a plant in Cullman. The company makes adhesives, corrosion prevention materials, sound dampening materials, industrial greases, and other products. While asbestos now is used in a very limited manner by U.S. companies, many of Daubert’s products historically contained asbestos, as the mineral is naturally resistant to corrosion and also has well-established heat and fire-retardant properties. Workers at the plant, as well as anyone who used their products, may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.
The skilled attorneys from MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion dollars for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our firm has successfully represented workers exposed to asbestos at worksites in Alabama throughout the United States. For more information or a free consultation, fill out the form on this page, have a live chat now with one of our representatives, or call our office.
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