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Eagan Minnesota Mesothelioma and Asbestos Law Blog

Asbestos exposure: It can never be safe

Sadly, many people in Minnesota and across the country have lost loved ones as a result of asbestos-related illness. In fact, there are no known cures for mesothelioma, asbestosis and other illnesses that often occur due to asbestos exposure. It's not only those who worked in factories, shipyards or old school buildings who are at risk; their families and anyone regularly exposed to them while wearing clothing they wore on the job could also possibly ingest the microscopic particles that wreak havoc on human lungs, hearts and other parts of the body.  

Many employers were aware of the dangers their workers faced. However, their desires for profit and increased productivity outweighed their senses of obligation. Nowadays, employers are legally required to warn their employees of known asbestos hazards in the workplace. They must also provide proper training and equipment to help them stay safe.  

What Is “Third-Wave” Asbestos?

Even though asbestos has now been on the medical radar for decades, that does not mean that asbestos is done hurting people. Today, people are still afflicted by cancer due to asbestos exposure. Many of these recent cases are part of what is known as the “third wave” of asbestos cases.


What are PFCs?

Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) are man-made chemicals manufactured in Minnesota by 3M. As a result, PFCs now persist in the environment and in our bodies, and for the most part are not biodegradable. For almost 50 years, 3M's PFCs have contaminated much of the water in Washington County. Many residents of Lake Elmo, Oakdale, Woodbury, and Cottage Grove must have their drinking water filtered to remove PFCs before the water is considered safe to drink. The Minnesota Attorney General recently obtained a $850 million settlement against 3M for damages caused by PFC contamination to Minnesota's natural resources, including drinking water in Washington County.

When asbestos exposure and negligence have fatal results

Sometime around 1979, there was an apparent increase in families suffering the loss of loved ones in workplace situations. Such incidents often have to do with asbestos exposure. Many Minnesota spouses, parents and children have grieved the loss of their loved ones in situations that may have been prevented had the employers of their family members fulfilled their obligations to keep their workers safe.  

The needs and goals of every family who suffers a wrongful death experience are unique. Many have taken similar steps, however, to seek justice on the behalves of their loved ones. Many also describe feeling angry or frustrated to learn that employer negligence was a causal factor in their family members' deaths.  

Dealing with the ravaging effects of asbestosis

The dangers of asbestos have been known for a long time, which is why the federal Clean Air Act of 1970 was enacted. At that time, most sprayed-on forms of asbestos were banned in the United States. Sadly, many people in Minnesota and beyond were already exposed to asbestos years ago and are now experiencing adverse health conditions such as asbestosis as a result.  

Asbestosis is only one of many asbestos-related illnesses that can have serious, if not fatal impact on a person's life. This disease occurs through inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers, which cause scar tissue buildup and other damage to the lungs. The lungs become like dried sponges, requiring much effort to breathe. Respiratory difficulty and chest pain are often the main symptoms but may not be noticeable until the disease is in its advanced stages. 

Demolition plans halted due to potential asbestos exposure

Many Minnesota workers and residential occupants are at risk for certain health conditions although they may not realize it. There are many buildings and work environments throughout the state and nation that place employees and residents in harm's way regarding possible asbestos exposure. At times, such exposure happens by chance, without those involved realizing dangerous microscopic fibers are present in their surroundings. Sadly, other exposures occur when employers or town officials are fully aware of potential problems but fail in their duties to inform others or take precautions to keep them safe. 

An apartment complex in another state was evacuated some time ago due to a flood. An inspection of the property ensued after the storms that caused the flood subsided. Property owners were cited for nine separate maintenance code violations.  

Banning asbestos in United States important, but only the start

The dangers of asbestos have been known for a long time. Asbestos, a term that refers to several naturally occurring minerals, is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 2,500 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year.

Studies have repeated shown that no amount of asbestos exposure is safe. Despite this, it is still legal to use asbestos in products as long as the amount of asbestos is less than one percent of the product. So why isn't it illegal?

Former worker seeks compensatory damages re asbestos exposure

How many Minnesota residents are currently suffering fatal illnesses contracted by ingesting microscopic asbestos fibers in the workplace? It's impossible to give an exact number because many affected workers are currently unaware of their conditions. A man in another state is not only aware of his lung cancer, but he and his wife have filed a claim against several companies they say should be held financially accountable for his illness, which is believed to have been caused by repeated asbestos exposure on the job.

The claim states that the man was exposed to asbestos during his career from 1949 to 1999. The repeated exposures reportedly occurred due to products manufactured, sold or installed by the defendants. The claim asserts that the defendants were aware of the dangers associated with the products in question but failed to take proper action to keep workers and consumers safe.

Covering the high cost of treating mesothelioma

Cancer treatment is expensive. According to the National Institutes of Health and, the cost of treating mesothelioma can range from $100,000 to $250,000. Lung surgery costs about $40,000 and chemotherapy treatments cost around $30,000 per session after the $7,000 initial session.

Individuals battling aggressive forms of cancer such as mesothelioma have to work quickly to get the best treatment and secure the funding to pay for it. For most people facing mesothelioma, one source of compensation is not enough and they will have to secure funding from multiple sources. Here are their top compensation options:

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay couple over toxic talc

Last year, Johnson & Johnson made headlines after their ubiquitous baby powder was linked to ovarian cancer. Concerns began to arise that the talc-based product may contain asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral whose fibers are known to cause mesothelioma and other deadly lung conditions.

Although regulations have been put in place to limit the use of asbestos in products, the United States has declined to issue an outright ban on asbestos use. Currently products can be made with asbestos provided the asbestos content is less than 1 percent of the product. This does not, however, exempt companies from liability.

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