The newest of the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Brett Kavanaugh, was set to hear his first cases on the high court this week. One of the cases involves an asbestos exposure situation. It is a complicated products liability case that was filed by two Navy widows. Asbestos-related illnesses and injuries are problematic in Minnesota and throughout the nation; many of those adversely affected are people who used to work in shipyards.
Between 12,000 and nearly 40,000 people in the United States die annually from diseases related to asbestos. This leaves many people wondering why materials containing the product are not altogether banned. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new rule that not only has raised people's fears but has caused some to worry whether the rule could possibly lead to more asbestos exposure for workers and residents in Minnesota and across the country.
In Minnesota and elsewhere, a diagnosis of incurable cancer is devastating. Thousands of patients have illnesses that were caused by asbestos exposure. Especially for those who used to work or are currently employed in certain industries, such as construction, railroad work, shipyards or textile factories, the risks for asbestos-related injuries are high.
Many retired Minnesota factory workers can related to a man in another state who recently joined many of his former co-workers at a meeting where a discussion was had about adverse health issues the former employees believe may be connected to their steel factory work. One woman who attended the meeting with her husband said she believes his skin cancer may have been caused by asbestos exposure. The man was not the only one there suffering from a disease, and most, if not all, attended the meeting because they think they contracted their illnesses on the job.
Many schools in Minnesota and throughout the country were built prior to 1970. Schools erected before this time often share certain characteristics in common. For instance, someone visiting or attending such a school may notice a musty smell from time to time, a sign that the building may contain mold. Asbestos exposure is usually a risk in old school buildings as well.
Minnesota apartment-dwellers whose homes have popcorn ceiling will want to follow a recent case in another state where officials have ordered total evacuation of an apartment complex. The situation unfolded when an anonymous tip was reportedly filed, prompting immediate inspection regarding possible asbestos exposure in the building. Since then, all residents have been evacuated, some taking shelter provided by the American Red Cross.
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 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.
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.
Many Minnesota residents understand how stressful it can be to renovate a home, especially if a household includes young children. A family in another state hired a contractor to work on their house, including the removal of a popcorn ceiling, which is a specific type of ceiling design that is textured and often poses an asbestos exposure risk. The situation led to the family's evacuation when homeowners say they found spilled debris throughout their house after the contractor had been working there.