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North Carolina Asbestos Law Blog

US Steel fined $170,000 for exposing workers to asbestos

An enforcement action by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against US Steel Corporation has once again demonstrated that asbestos is still a major environmental health threat. Moreover, the outcome of the investigation shows that employers are still refusing to provide meaningful protection for workers against the hazards of exposure to asbestos-containing products.

OSHA began its investigation after it received a complaint about the company's failure to follow federal regulations. OSHA said that seven workers were ordered to undertake tasks that directly exposed them to asbestos fibers. In one incident, five workers were told to remove and replace valve packing material that contained asbestos. In the other incident, two employees were ordered to remove a decayed section of a pipe. The pipe was later determined to contain asbestos.

Many U. S. Navy veterans suffer from exposure to asbestos

Many men and women in North Carolina who served in the U. S. Navy, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine, or who helped to build the country's warships, have been denied a comfortable retirement because they were exposed to large amounts of asbestos-containing products during their military service or while they worked in shipyards. This asbestos product exposure has afflicted naval veterans and shipyard workers with many crippling or fatal diseases, such as mesothelioma, other forms of lung cancer and asbestosis.

Asbestos is a very durable material that possesses many desirable characteristics for ships powered by steam. Asbestos is a very effective insulating material, and it can be machined, cut and mixed with cement and similar substances. Given these properties, asbestos was a common material in the building of naval vessels. Asbestos pipe insulation was used to insulate ship boilers, turbines and steam lines. Asbestos was used in valve gaskets and pumps. Asbestos tape was often used to wrap and fireproof electrical wiring.

Products in which asbestos can be found in NC

Did you know that asbestos can be found in even the most common consumer products? Products made in the U.S. cannot legally be manufactured to contain asbestos; however, some products still remain in use today that were manufactured before using asbestos became illegal in 1989. Here are details on some of the products in which asbestos could be found and that could pose a danger to you and your family.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been proven to cause terminal illness such as mesothelioma or even cancer. In the home, there can be asbestos hiding behind the walls in the insulation or even in tiles or vinyl flooring. Asbestos can really pose a danger if it is disturbed and released into the air.

What is mesothelioma and what are the signs and symptoms?

Many of our posts mention illnesses or diseases derived from the exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a disease that has afflicted thousands of residents in North Carolina. In this post, we will explain the symptoms of this disease and its connection to asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the tissue that covers the majority of the body's internal organs. The tissue is called the mesothelium, and doctors have identified four types of mesothelioma based upon the section of the mesothelium that is affected by the disease.

Renovations reveal asbestos fibers in public buildings

The serious health risks associated with asbestos have been in the news for over 50 years, and some people in North Carolina and elsewhere may have become complacent and assumed that the risks have been virtually eliminated. No one can deny that the hazards created by asbestos-containing products have been greatly reduced, but two recent cases from neighboring states demonstrate that the hazards are far from disappearing completely.

Workers in buildings owned by Shelby County, Tennessee, have alleged that they have been exposed to asbestos fibers during the renovation of several older county buildings. In response to these claims, the county hired experts to inspect the buildings and remove any asbestos fibers that were found. Work was halted more than once to allow for these inspections and removals to take place. Nevertheless, county employees have found additional concentrations of asbestos fibers, especially in the old county morgue. The county said that it is "committed to providing safe workplaces for its employees." The workers have hired an attorney, but so far, the case has not reached the courts.

How does asbestos make people sick?

Most people in North Carolina are aware that asbestos can cause a number of serious illnesses, but very few understand the way in which asbestos makes people sick and - in too many cases - kills them. In this post, we want to describe the various ways in which asbestos can cause serious illness.

Crane Co. held liable for failure to warn of presence of asbestos

This blog has frequently noted the widespread use of asbestos in building materials, insulation products and valve and brake gaskets in North Carolina and elsewhere. The final product, i.e., the product sold to the consumer, may contain asbestos or an asbestos-containing product that was provided or manufactured by another company. Courts have been required to decide who is liable in these instances - the original supplier of the asbestos or the manufacturer of the final product.

OSHA awards retaliation damages to janitor who reported asbestos

Employees in North Carolina and elsewhere who learn that asbestos is present on property owned by their employers are often reluctant to say anything for fear of being fired or suffering other forms of recrimination. A school custodian in Michigan suffered such a fate after reporting the presence of asbestos-containing floor tiles in a school where she worked. However, she was able to recover damages because negative statements about her made by the School District were held by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration to be an act of retaliation.

The custodian had been given the task of re-waxing tile floors in the high school, but, because the job was behind schedule, she and other custodians were told to merely dry sand the floors instead of cleaning and re-waxing them. The floor tiles contained asbestos fibers, but this fact was not discovered until after the sanding was completed. The sanding released the asbestos fibers into the air, and the custodians used leaf blowers to blow the fine white powder released by the tiles into large trash bags that were tossed into a dumpster. None of the custodians had received training in asbestos abatement procedures, and none was given adequate protective clothing or masks.

What is mesothelioma and what diseases can asbestos cause?

You may have heard the word asbestos frequently used but wondered what diseases asbestos exposure could cause. Asbestos exposure can cause a variety of diseases that fall into three broad categories of negative health effects including lung cancer; asbestosis; and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a serious and progressive disease of the lungs but is not a cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is found in the lining of the lung, chest, abdomen and heart.

Mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer are all serious and possibly fatal medical conditions that are caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos-related conditions can be difficult to diagnose and can cause significant suffering for victims and their families. Asbestos exposure can occur when asbestos fibers are disturbed in products containing asbestos material. Exposure can occur years prior to the development of any asbestos-related disease.

How lawyers fight the asbestos industry's cover-up

In our last two posts, we discussed the wide-spread attempts by the asbestos industry to hide from the public the truth about the health hazards of asbestos. In this post, we are going to show how aggressive lawyers who are committed to the welfare of their clients have developed techniques to meet and defeat the asbestos industry's cover-up.

Perhaps the single most difficult aspect of an asbestos product liability case is the determination of which manufacturer's products the plaintiff was exposed to. By sharing information from many cases, attorneys seeking damages on behalf of asbestos exposure victims were able to identify the leading suppliers of raw asbestos and the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products such as boiler and pipe insulation, acoustic ceiling tiles, shingles, brake linings, valve gaskets and spray-on fireproofing. The network of plaintiffs' asbestos lawyers has also identified knowledgeable scientists and physicians who can persuasively testify about the medical hazards of asbestos. Once the possible defendants have been identified, the next issue is the plaintiff's medical history.

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