Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Hawaii
The island paradise of Hawaii was not immune to the toxic use of asbestos up through the 1980s. In the Aloha State, industries including shipbuilding, power plants, and even sugar companies used building materials, machinery, and protective clothing that contained asbestos. Exposure to asbestos dust can cause serious illnesses such as mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Workers in these industries throughout Hawaii may be at risk of developing these illnesses.
If you were exposed to asbestos in Hawaii, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The attorneys at MesoLawyersCare have successfully recovered money awards for workers and their families who have been injured by exposure to asbestos in Hawaii and throughout the United States. The following worksites in Hawaii are examples of locations where many people had asbestos exposure:
1. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard – Honolulu, HI
The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard was built on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu in 1908. The station was used as a repair station and was instrumental in providing support after the attack at Pearl Harbor during World War II. After the war ended victoriously, the station’s motto became “We keep them fit to fight!” Over the years the station has grown tremendously. However, prior to new safety guidelines implemented in the 1970s and 1980s, it was common to use a substantial amount of asbestos in ship building and repairs in order to resist heat and allow for proper functioning of high-heat equipment used to power the ships. The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard was no exception to this practice. Asbestos was used in boilers, turbines, engines, pumps, valves, gaskets, and packing and insulation for steam pipes. As a result, civilian workers and enlisted military service members in the vicinity were often exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos which can cause mesothelioma, a deadly cancer.
2. Honolulu Iron Works – Honolulu, HI
Founded in the 1800s by David Weston, Honolulu Iron Works (later known as Honiron) was an industrial giant in Hawaii for over 120 years. The company began by building and manufacturing machinery for a flour mill, but quickly changed to focus on the growing sugar industry. For years, Honolulu Iron Works built and repaired all the machinery for sugar factories in Hawaii, as well as factories in Mexico, Cuba, and even the Philippines. By the 1950s, sugar plantations were doing their own repairs, making their own machinery, or buying it from other companies—by the 1990s, Honolulu Iron Works was out of business, sold in pieces to other companies. Honolulu Iron works used asbestos and asbestos materials in the building of their factories and sugar plantation machinery. Workers were also exposed to asbestos when repairing the asbestos insulated equipment, as they inhaled airborne asbestos particles.
3. Kahe Power Plant – Honolulu, HI
The Kahe Power Plant was originally built in 1963 by the Hawaiian Electric Company.
Hawaiian Electric company is the largest supplier of power in Hawaii, providing power to 95% of Hawaii’s population through its various utilities. The plant burns oil to generate the power. Like other power Stations, the Kahe Power Plant used massive pieces of high-heat, power-generating equipment that required the use of asbestos to function properly in their operations. Workers at Kahe Power Station were regularly exposed to asbestos in insulation, gaskets, packing, piping, equipment, and protective gear as asbestos was used for its insulating and sealing qualities. These workers were not warned about the dangers of asbestos and, even years after their exposure, are at risk for developing mesothelioma. Their family members were also put at risk by inhaling toxic asbestos dust workers brought home on their clothing on a daily basis.
4. Pepeekeo Sugar Co. – Hilo, HI
In 1874, the Metcalf Sugar Plantation was purchased and became home to the Pepeekeo Sugar Company. Within a matter of years, the plantation was producing over 1,800 tons of sugar. By the early 1900s, that production had increased to 9,000 tons of sugar a year, and the company employed 700 workers. However, by the 1960s, the company’s growth slowed and in 1973, it merged with several other sugar companies. The plantation ran until the 1990s. During the 20th century, asbestos was used extensively in sugar mills to insulate and seal boilers, pipes, and evaporators used to process sugar cane into raw sugar. Although Pepeekeo sugar mill workers may have been exposed to asbestos years ago, they may still be at risk as symptoms of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can take years to show.
5. Kekaha Sugar Co. – Kekaha, HI
The Kekaha Sugar Co., located on the island of Kauai, was founded in 1898. The mill operated for over 100 years until it closed in 2000 when the sugar industry in Hawaii collapsed. In 1954, the company built the Kekaha mill as upgrade making it the most modern sugar mill in Hawaii. The sugar mill was the center of the small town of Kekaha’s economy and employed generations of local families. Similar to other sugar mills and factories built before the 1980s, the Kekaha sugar mill commonly used asbestos in their sugar refinery equipment, including boilers, tanks, burners, pumps and valves. Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma and other deadly diseases. Companies that owned sugar mills, like the Kekaha Sugar Co., failed to warn employees and other workers of the dangers of asbestos which left many workers exposed to hazardous asbestos.
The attorneys from MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion dollars for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our firm has successfully represented workers exposed to asbestos throughout Hawaii and the United States. For more information or a free consultation, fill out our website form, have a live chat now with one of our representatives, or call the number on this page.
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