Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Illinois
As in other states with large cities and a history of large-scale industrial activity, countless Illinois residents have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos and many of them have developed the deadly disease mesothelioma. And since it takes several decades after exposure for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases to present symptoms, people who worked in Illinois decades ago have yet to discover that past jobs or life experiences may have sowed the seeds for future health problems. Before its use was mostly phased out, asbestos exposure was most common in power plants, oil refineries, shipyards, and generally any industrial site where high-heat equipment and machinery was used. Additionally, the renovation or demolition of older buildings also can expose poorly protected workers to asbestos.
While asbestos exposure can occur virtually anywhere the substance becomes “friable,” or airborne and thus easily inhaled, the following five Illinois worksites are examples of some that have caused large numbers of workers to be exposed to asbestos.
1. Johns-Manville Plant
Waukegan, located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, became a manufacturing center in the early 20th century, including a sizeable manufacturing plant owned by the Johns-Manville Company. The plant manufactured asbestos-cement pipe, asbestos-based insulation, and other products from 1918 to 1984, after which the grounds became an EPA Superfund site due to heavy pollution. Lawyers from MesoLawyersCare have successfully represented hundreds of workers from the Waukegan Johns-Manville plant. Our attorneys know the details of this plant inside and out. MesoLawyersCare attorneys have used this in-depth knowledge of asbestos exposures, including all the various buildings involved, to achieve multi-millions dollar settlements and verdicts for many workers exposed at this job site. Family members were also exposed when workers brought home asbestos on their clothing. MesoLawyersCare attorneys have also successfully represented many of these family members who were exposed to asbestos simply by living in the same home as a Johns-Manville plant worker or laundering the dusty work clothing.
2. Oil Refineries
Regardless of their location, oil refineries throughout the world used large quantities of asbestos ostensibly to insulate high-heat equipment used in the oil refining process. The asbestos materials often took the form of insulation, cements, gaskets and packing. Even the protective clothing and gear worn by many of the workers contained a substantial amount of asbestos. Refineries responsible for much of this exposure in Illinois include the Texaco Tank Farm (Lockport), Union Oil (Lemont), Shell (Wood River), and Amoco Chemical (Joliet). While the Lemont refinery made headlines after a 1984 explosion claimed 15 lives, many survivors of the blast would learn decades later that they had been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. Attorneys for MesoLawyersCare have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for workers who developed mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related diseases, from working at Illinois Oil Refineries. Our firms have huge volumes of documents that provide evidence of the asbestos exposure that occurred at these plants, as well as the knowledge of the companies about the hazards of asbestos and their failure to protect workers and their family members.
3. BorgWarner Manufacturing Facility
BorgWarner Company, founded in 1928 and still in operation today, once produced automotive brake pads and clutches containing asbestos at its plant in Dixon. The Michigan-headquartered company phased out these products in the late-1980s or early 1990s, in the wake of legal actions by workers exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. As recently as 2016, the public company reported a $703.6 million charge pertaining to current and future claims for asbestos-related illnesses at its various locations around the country. While BorgWarner has not set aside an asbestos fund, the company reported (per SEC requirements) that it paid $54.7 million in 2015 and $45.3 million in 2016 for asbestos-specific litigation fees. Attorneys for MesoLawyersCare won a verdict of over $30 million for a man exposed to asbestos from Borg-Warner clutches. This was the highest compensatory damages verdict ever upheld on appeal in the history of asbestos litigation.
4. Commonwealth Edison Power Plants
Commonwealth Edison is the largest electric utility in the state, with a virtual monopoly in Chicago and other regions of Illinois. A number of its plants have been blamed for dangerous levels of asbestos exposure, which is not uncommon among power plants built and operated in the 20th century. For instance, the company’s Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant (currently owned by Exelon Corp.), which came online in 1987 after more than a decade of construction, used various asbestos-containing materials. The Braidwood plant was built at a time when many other plants and industrial facilities began taking on numerous lawsuits for failing to protect workers, prompting them to move away from asbestos. The Zion Nuclear Power Station, which came on line in the 1970s, is another example of a Commonwealth Edison job site where asbestos exposure was widespread. MesoLawyersCare attorneys have extensive knowledge and documents they have used to successfully recover large amounts of financial compensation for those suffering from asbestos-related diseases arising from these Illinois power plants.
5. Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA)
Shipyards are notorious for exposing workers, sailors, and others to dangerous levels of asbestos. The asbestos was used on ships to help facilitate the operation of high-heat machinery and equipment used to power large naval vessels. The NAVSTA facility, comprised of 1,153 buildings spanning 1,628 acres, serves as the U.S. Navy’s training facility. More than 1 million of the total 4 million active duty sailors during World War II were trained at NAVSTA. For example, many boiler tenders (also known as “firemen”) attended boiler training school at “Great Lakes” before joining a ship and assuming their active-service duties. MesoLawyersCare attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of navy servicemen exposed to asbestos at the Great Lakes Naval Station, including many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for these most-deserving individuals who served our country.
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 in Illinois and 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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