Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Maine
As the most northeastern state in the U.S., Maine is known for its 17 million acres of forest, rocky coastline, and maritime history. One of the state’s oldest and most popular industries is shipbuilding, though Maine also has its fair share of paper mills and other industrial sites. Unfortunately, many of these worksites and industries have a legacy tarnished by asbestos use. Asbestos use has now been limited in the United States because of its serious health risks, but many people in Maine may still be at risk for developing mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos years ago.
The experienced attorneys at MesoLawyersCare have successfully recovered monetary compensation for workers and their families who have contracted harmful asbestos related illnesses by jobsite exposure to asbestos in Maine and neighboring states. While individuals can be exposed to asbestos in a number of ways, the following list of worksites in Maine are examples of places that may have presented elevated risks for exposure to past and present workers.
1. Oxford Paper Mill – Rumford, ME
The Oxford Paper Mill is a large pulp and paper mill located in southwest Maine in the small town of Rumford. The mill opened in 1902 with four paper machines. Just after it opened, the mill secured a contract with the U.S. Post Office to manufacture all of its postcards—this lead to the production of approximately 3 million postcards a day. Today the mill is owned by Catalyst paper and produces over a million tons of kraft pulp and paper annually. The paper making process requires a series of steps that include cooking wood chips at high temperatures to create pulp, and then the pulp is used to make paper. Because of the high heat generated in the manufacturing process, paper mills built in the early 20th century used substantial amounts of asbestos for insulation and sealants for boilers and other machinery. Workers who repaired and maintained machinery and were exposed to dust from asbestos at paper mills like Oxford Paper Mill, are most susceptible to asbestos-borne illnesses. However, whether a worker was exposed to asbestos at this job site depends on the work performed by the particular worker and the areas of the plant in which the work was performed.
2. Bath Iron Works – Bath, ME
Founded in 1884, Bath Iron works is a major U.S. shipyard located on the banks of the Kennebec River. During World War II ships built by Bath Iron Works were considered superior to other ships because they were particularly strong and tough—their catch-phrase became, “Bath-built is best-built.” Throughout the 20th century it was common to use asbestos in shipyards and in the ship building process. Because of its heat-resistant quality, asbestos was used as insulation for boilers, turbines, pipes and in ship walls between decks. Workers at Bath Iron Works were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos as they built and repaired asbestos containing ships, which put them at risk for developing deadly asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma later in life.
3. American Biltrite (formerly Bonafide Mills) – Lisbon, ME
American Biltrite began as a small family-owned rubber company in 1908. During the first few decades the company grew and expanded making all types of products including rubber and vinyl floorings and even rubber for shoes. The Lisbon, Maine facility, formerly owned by Bonafide, has been surrounded by controversy for years. Under the ownership of Bonafide, the mill produced linoleum that contained asbestos. When American Biltrite took over, they continued using asbestos in their products, including vinyl asbestos tile (“VAT”). As a result, employees were exposed to asbestos, but also asbestos and other pollutants in the factory’s waste made their way into the Sabattus River. Workers at the Lisbon facility, as well as anyone who used their products, may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.
4. Great Northern Paper Co. – Millinocket, ME
Great Northern Paper Co. opened the doors to their Millinocket paper mill in 1900. When the mill opened, it was the world’s largest paper mill and produced 240 tons of news print and 360 tons of wood pulp a day. At the company’s peak, it produced 17% of newsprint made in the U.S. Though the mill was sold to several other companies, it operated until 2008. As was common in paper mills built and operated during the early 1900s, Great Northern Paper used massive amounts of asbestos containing materials to insulate and seal high-heat machinery used in the paper manufacturing process. Asbestos was used in insulation and cements applied to boilers and pipes, and in gaskets and packing used to seal equipment. As asbestos on this equipment aged, it flaked and became airborne. Workers inhaled these toxic asbestos fibers and carried them home on their clothes exposing their family members to its harm as well.
5. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – Kittery, ME
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has a ship building and repairing history that spans over 200 years. The shipyard was established in 1800 by president John Adams and holds the title as the U.S. Navy’s oldest, continuously running shipyard. Shipyards and naval ships, unfortunately, were particularly dangerous places to work during the 1900s as significant amounts of asbestos were used in ship construction. Both military and civilian personnel were exposed to asbestos that was used in boiler rooms, equipment and pipes. Asbestos also may have been used in paint in sleeping quarters because it was heat resistant. Many people that worked in the Portsmouth Naval shipyard, and shipyards like it, was put at risk of developing asbestos related health problems later in life.
The legal professionals from MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion dollars for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our firm has successfully represented workers exposed to asbestos in Maine. 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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