Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Washington
Washington State, like most other coastal states, has a history of shipbuilding and U.S. Navy activity. Unfortunately, shipyards and Naval bases built and operated in the United States prior to the 1980s have a history of causing mesothelioma in those exposed to asbestos dust. In addition to shipyards, Washington has a number of other industrial worksites where substantial amounts of asbestos were used for fireproofing, insulation and sealing from extreme temperatures. These include aluminum smelting operations, nuclear power plants, oil refineries, and paper mills, among others.
If you may have been exposed to asbestos in Washington, 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 Washington State and elsewhere. The following worksites in Washington are examples of locations where many people had asbestos exposure:
1. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Immediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) in Bremerton was first established in 1891 and stands as the largest naval shore facility in the Pacific Northwest. The massive facility, located near other shipyards on the Puget Sound (across from Seattle) maintains Navy vessels and recycles decommissioned ships and submarines. The shipyard comprises 1,300 acres and employs more than 12,000 workers (a combination of military personnel and civilians). On Navy ships, powerful, high-temperature equipment, including boilers and turbines, operated below deck. Asbestos was used materials such as insulation, gaskets, packing and cement so that the equipment could function properly and not radiate heat in the small spaces occupied by Navy boiler tenders, machinist mates and others working in the engineering spaces. Dangerous asbestos dust resulted from the installation, repair and routine maintenance of the asbestos-containing equipment and systems that powered the Navy ships.
2. Intalco Aluminum Works
Ferndale-based aluminum smelter Intalco Aluminum Works began operation in 1966, becoming the largest producer of aluminum in the nation after a series of mergers. While the plant once employed 1,150 individuals at its peak, it currently has roughly 640 regular employees. The production of aluminum requires extremely high temperatures, so — as in other industries where heat and fire are a concern — this and other aluminum plants were built with asbestos-containing materials, including boilers, piping, pumps, valves and insulation and sealing materials throughout the facility. These facilities, including Intalco, also used asbestos on bench tops, various coating materials, and even in protective clothing. Workers were often exposed to asbestos at Aluminum plants, such as Intalco, because the premises owners, as well as the manufacturers and suppliers of the asbestos-containing materials and equipment, failed to provide proper warnings.
3. Cherry Point Refinery
The Cherry Point Refinery in Blaine, located near the border with Canada, is Washington’s largest oil refinery (providing 20 percent of the state’s gasoline needs). The BP-owned refinery was originally built in 1971, just a few years before the use of asbestos-containing materials was phased out due to its serious health hazards. Oil refineries operate by boiling crude oil in order to separate out the various components, such as gasoline, kerosene, and other petroleum products. The equipment used in the process reaches high-temperatures. This is why the Cherry Point Refinery and other refineries used so much asbestos in their construction. The major problem with the use of asbestos was that the premises owners, along with the makers and sellers of the asbestos-containing products, failed to adequately warn the workers. As a result, workers and their family members have developed mesothelioma.
4. Hanford Nuclear Site (Hanford)
Located on the bank of the Columbia River in Hanford is the decommissioned nuclear power plant known simply as the Hanford Nuclear Site. It was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project to build an atomic weapon for the war effort and plutonium created at the site ultimately was used in the atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. The site was expanded during the Cold War to include five large plutonium processing complexes. The Hanford Nuclear Site, as with other nuclear reactors, was subject to extremely high temperatures, which resulted in the use of asbestos-containing materials, including insulation, cement, gaskets and packing. These asbestos-containing products and equipment did not include warnings that gave adequate notice of the dangers of asbestos. The Hanford Nuclear facility ceased operations in the late 1980s, with a massive cleanup effort beginning in 1989.
5. Longview Fibre Paper Mill (Longview)
Now owned by KapStone Paper and Packaging, the Longview Fibre Paper Mill in the lumber city of Longview was originally founded in 1927. The mill produces packaging papers, containerboard, corrugated cardboard containers, Kraft paper (used in grocery bags), and other materials. The manufacturing process at the Longview Mill resulted in asbestos exposure both from the equipment that utilized asbestos and from the manufacturing process. Work at paper mills has been shown to significantly increase the risk of asbestos exposure. The attorneys at MesoLawyersCare have successfully represented many paper mill workers who have developed mesothelioma, as well as family members who have been diagnosed with this asbestos-related cancer as the result of household contact with dusty work clothing.
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 at worksites throughout the state of Washington, and throughout the country. For more information or a free consultation, fill out the form on this page, type into the “live chat” function on this page, or call the number on the screen.
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