The recent evacuation of a high school in Gaston, North Carolina, provides another reminder that asbestos is still present in many buildings and still poses a significant health hazard. While no one appears to have ingested asbestos fibers during the incident, the reaction of school administrators shows the high level of caution necessary to protect against inhalation of the tiny white fibers that cause a fatal form of lung cancer.
Overlooked or unbeknownst to firefighters, these public servants may face a higher risk for cancer. North Carolina firefighters and readers are well aware of the risk for physical harm when fighting fires. However, it has recently come to light that exposure to certain hazards from fires place these men and women at a much higher risk for multiple types of cancer.
Many people in North Carolina and other states believe that the severe health hazard posed by asbestos fibers has largely disappeared. While many of the original victims of fatal asbestos exposure have died from their disease or other causes, the environmental threat of asbestos fibers is still with us.
Losing a loved one who had battled a devastating illness can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. No one wants to see someone they love and care about suffer and we want to do everything we can to help that person. In the worst cases, an illness is incurable and a death resulting from that condition is all but unavoidable.
People in the construction industry often are required to work on renovation and demolition projects. Like any other project, these can present a danger to workers health if unsafe conditions exist. But renovation and demolition jobs can also come with the additional risk of asbestos exposure.
One of the most publicized environmental hazards of the last 30 years has been the occurrence of respiratory diseases created by airborne asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, and it was commonly used in all manner of industrial applications before its health effects were fully understood. In North Carolina, the material was used mostly in the textile, construction, and ship building industries, but its durability and resistance to heat also made it suitable for many other industries.
In a ruling that could benefit North Carolina residents, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the Travelers Insurance Company was bound by the terms of a written settlement agreement that required it to pay claims for asbestos-related diseases and asbestos-related deaths made against Johns-Manville Corp. The ruling also required Travelers to pay $75 million in terest to the claimants.
Exposure to asbestos can be deadly. The fibers, when breathed in, can do irreparable damage to a person's lungs and other organs. Sadly, the symptoms of the illnesses that are caused by asbestos exposure can take decades to start showing up. By the time a person is diagnosed, it may seem impossible to trace back to what the source of the exposure might be.
A case regarding asbestos has come to an end in North Carolina, resulting in a summary judgment for the companies that were acting as defendants. A woman was attempting to bring the case against those companies because she claimed that the products that they made caused a man, for whose estate she has been set up as the representative, to pass away due to asbestos exposure. She said that exposure led him to develop mesothelioma, which was found in 2012. The man in question was in the military, and he served on vessels for the United States Navy. The claims were that parts on those ships used asbestos and that his exposure while serving led to the mesothelioma.
Most North Carolina residents don't worry about asbestos exposure nowadays, but the substance is still found in older buildings. Those who are exposed to it can become seriously ill and suffer from mesothelioma and other cancers. Inmates hired to remove flooring from a maintenance shop in 2013 were inadvertently exposed to asbestos. They receive $56,000 in settlements for the lack of testing.