Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Maryland
Because of its location along the Chesapeake Bay, a natural harbor providing access to the Atlantic Ocean, Baltimore has a long history of shipbuilding and other large scale industrial activities. But all of this economic activity comes at a price, particularly in industries where excessive heat was present. Many of industrial sites in Maryland, including shipyards in particular, used asbestos throughout much of the 20th century, even though the health risks of asbestos were known to industry. Workers, on the other, hand were not warned adequately about the dangers of asbestos. While it typically takes many decades for symptoms to appear, on-the-job asbestos exposure poses a significant risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
The skilled legal professionals at MesoLawyersCare have successfully recovered cash awards for workers and their families who have been injured by jobsite exposure to asbestos in Maryland and across the country. While individuals may become exposed to asbestos from a number of different sources, the following Maryland worksites — all in the Baltimore area — present elevated risks for exposure to past and present workers.
1. Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard
The Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard near Baltimore was founded in 1887 (called Maryland Steel at the time) and acquired by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. in 1916. Now owned by Barletta Industries, the site continues to function as a shipyard and industrial complex. While tugboats, passenger ships, and cargo ships were the most commonly produced vessels at the site, it grew significantly during World War II and turned out hundreds of military ships. Since ships generate high temperatures in the engine room, asbestos was used throughout ships before it was eventually phased out. For instance, large rolls of asbestos-containing cloth were cut to order, releasing the tiny fibers into the dust (making them airborne and thus easily inhaled and hazardous). Also, asbestos-containing gaskets and packing were commonly used as components of equipment and would result in asbestos dust during repair and replacement activities.
2. Bethlehem Key Highway Shipyard
The Bethlehem Key Highway Shipyard in the port of Baltimore closed down in the mid-1980s amid the economic recession, resulting in the layoffs of thousands of shipyard workers. At the height of operations during World War II, the shipyard employed nearly 11,000 workers; much of the work at this time involved the conversion of merchant ships to military vessels for the U.S. Navy. The Key Highway site specialized in the repair and maintenance of ships, employing welders, pipefitters, steel shapers, boilermakers, and other specialists who regularly came into contact with friable asbestos. Workers at the Key Highway facility experienced most of the same types of exposure risks presented at Sparrows Point and other shipyards. Workers were not adequately warned about the hazards of asbestos by either the shipyard or the manufacturers and sellers of the products, resulting in workers and family members having exposure to asbestos.
3. Tnemec Company Inc.
Tnemec Company Inc. manufactures and distributes a wide range of coating systems for industrial facilities, which are designed to protect against chemical corrosion, heat, fire, and other dangers associated with certain industries. Not surprisingly, many of the company’s products once contained asbestos, including roofing and siding materials containing the fibrous mineral. The company has faced numerous lawsuits from workers at job sites throughout the country where their asbestos-containing products were used, in addition to claims by former workers at its Baltimore manufacturing facility. Asbestos products, such as those manufactured by Tnemec, are dangerous when the asbestos fibers are disturbed and liberated by activities such as handling, scraping or sanding the product.
4. National Gypsum Co.
National Gypsum Co., founded in 1925 and based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, manufactures drywall gypsum boards at its 17 locations (including Baltimore) for use in building construction. The company once used asbestos in its products and received large shipments of raw asbestos from Union Carbide beginning in 1969. Large clouds of asbestos fibers were released into the air when the bags were handled or opened up, exposing forklift operators and other workers in regular contact with the material. Most of its asbestos-containing products were marketed under the “Gold Bond” brand and included wallboard, roofing, cement board, gaskets, ceiling panels, pipe covering, and more. The company has been the target of injury claims by former workers as well as workers at facilities that used their products. Workers were exposed to “Nat Gyp” products at many worksites throughout the United States.
5. MC Corporation
FMC Corporation, founded in 1883 as the Bean Spray Pump Company and changing its name to Food Machinery Corporation (shortened to FMC) in 1928, manufactures a broad range of products at its facilities. Started as a chemical manufacturer, FMC diversified after two major acquisitions in 1928 and received a contract to build amphibious tracked landing vehicles for U.S. military in 1941. The company also built fire truck pumps and other products related to firefighting. FMC produced various products, including a variety of pumps, with asbestos-containing materials supplied by third parties, including asbestos gaskets, brake pads, clutch facings, and packing. FMC pumps were commonly used on Navy ships and in industrial plants where high-heat equipment was operated. Those who did maintenance and repairs, particularly those who cut or sanded asbestos-containing parts, were most at risk for exposure.
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 Maryland and throughout the United States. For more information or a free consultation, fill out the form on this page, start a live chat now with one of our representatives, or call us today.
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