Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Florida
Asbestos exposure was quite common in Florida and across the country, since the fibrous mineral was used in heavy industry and in the construction of buildings throughout much of the 20th century. Typically, workers exposed to asbestos on a regular basis – such as those working in power plants or shipyards – were at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma, a deadly disease affecting the linings of the internal organs. In fact, Florida has the second-highest rate of asbestos-related deaths in the United States. But since mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses take decades to present symptoms in many people, people exposed long after initial exposure may not even know they’re at risk.
MesoLawyersCare attorneys understand the risk factors and have been able to recover significant cash awards for workers and family members who have been injured (often fatally) by asbestos exposure throughout the Sunshine State. Some of the more prominent Florida job sites with high levels of asbestos exposure are discussed below.
1. Port Everglades Power Plant
The Port Everglades Power Plant in Fort Lauderdale opened for operation in 1960 and demolished in 2013. The oil-burning power plant was replaced with a natural gas-burning power plant (by the same name) in 2016. As with other power plants built before the 1980s – when asbestos began to be phased-out and companies started facing lawsuits – the Port Everglades plant was riddled with asbestos. The naturally occurring, fibrous material was used primarily as insulation from excessive heat, as gasket and packing materials used throughout the plant, and for fireproofing Asbestos was even sometimes used in the protective gear worn by workers. In addition to those who constructed and worked at the former plant and their family members who may have been exposed, demolition workers also may have been exposed (although stricter safety precautions were often used in demolition work occurring in later years).
2. Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station
The Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station near Homestead is a twin reactor nuclear power plant serving much of South Florida and the largest power plant in the state. Construction on the plant began in 1967 and it went online in 1972 and 1973 (the second of two units). In addition to the nuclear reactors, the plant has fossil fuel-fired generator units where asbestos-based insulation was widely used in order to protect workers from extreme heat. As in other power plants, workers who were regularly exposed to asbestos insulation, gaskets, packing, piping, equipment, and protective gear are at risk for developing mesothelioma.
3. Naval Station Mayport
One of three major Navy facilities in Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport is both a seaport and an air facility with the capacity for up to 34 ships and an 8,000-foot runway for aircraft. The station was built in 1942 to help with the war effort and closed after the war ended, but then was reestablished and expanded by the U.S. Navy in 1948 (becoming the third-largest naval base in the U.S.). The Naval Station is currently home to more than 14,000 military personnel. Prior new safety guidelines implemented in the 1970s, ships used a substantial amount of asbestos in order to resist heat and allow for optimal functioning of the high-heat equipment used to power the ships. The material was used in boilers, turbines, engines, pumps, valves, blower, gaskets, packing and insulation for steam pipes. Workers and enlisted military service members in the vicinity were often exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.
4. Naval Air Station Pensacola
Built in 1913, Naval Air Station Pensacola serves as the initial primary training base for U.S. Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard officers and is home to the famous Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. The site has an even richer history, having been occupied by the Spanish in the 1500s, the French in the early 1700s, and Great Britain in the 1760s (finally to be taken over by the United States during the War of 1812). The facility also has a history of shipbuilding and has served as a base for aircraft carriers. While its use has since been phased out, asbestos was once a major component of ships and other facilities where excessive heat was generated by power equipment. Anyone who worked or trained at the site before safety upgrades were made in the 1980s may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. While safety upgrades were made in the 1980s, it is still possible to have gotten sick after those upgrades as large-scale asbestos removal is extremely difficult and exposure still can take place. Also, certain asbestos materials remained in place at this job site and asbestos exposures would have occurred when this dangerous material was disturbed by workers.
5. Nitram Inc.
Nitram Inc. operated a chemical plant in Tampa beginning in 1962, where it produced primarily ammonium nitrate for use in high-nitrogen fertilizers. Since the chemical compound also is used in explosives and is highly combustible, the plant (which was the third-largest ammonium nitrate producer in the country) once used substantial amounts of asbestos to protect workers and the facilities. It is also designated as a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency after years of toxic waste contamination. Workers were exposed to asbestos as the facilities aged and the fibers were disturbed and dusty and thus easily inhaled.
The skilled attorneys of MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our firm has successfully represented workers exposed to asbestos in Florida and/or residing in Florida, as well as workers 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 offices.
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