As the temporary cleanup phase ends in a northwest Montana Community where health professionals say hundreds of people have been killed by asbestos exposure, the focus now moves on to the long-term issue of keeping residents safe.
An advisory team established by the state legislature is working on ways to prevent continued exposure to asbestos that is still under the soil and in the walls of many houses in Libby and Troy, Montana. The contamination is linked to a W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine that operated for decades just outside Libby.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral known for its insulating and fire-retardant properties. Its fibers produce a fine dust that, when inhaled, forms deposits in the lungs that can cause serious and deadly illnesses such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is aggressive cancer in which malignant cancer cells are found in the sac that lines the chest, abdominal cavity, or heart. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of the illness.
Both first- and second-hand exposure to asbestos can put an individual at risk. Pipe or other insulation, ceiling tiles, exterior siding, roof shingles, and sprayed on-soundproofing are just some of the materials found in older buildings that may contain asbestos. Buildings constructed before 1970 are more likely to contain asbestos.
As early as the 1930s, it was known that breathing in asbestos fibers could cause deadly diseases such as pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer. These diseases have a very long latency period. This means that someone who was exposed to asbestos may not show symptoms of a disease like pleural mesothelioma for up to 50 years. Thus, many people who were exposed to asbestos prior to the increased regulation in the 1980s may just now be showing symptoms of these diseases.
How Can Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure?
While corporations were aware of the dangers of asbestos as early as the 1930s, many ignored the risk and continued to expose their workers to the deadly mineral without adequate protection. After these workers were occupationally exposed, they would unknowingly return home covered in asbestos fibers – their families would become exposed when shaking the deadly fibers off clothing to do laundry. Sadly, diseases caused by asbestos, such as pleural mesothelioma, can affect both the workers who were directly exposed and families of the workers who were exposed to the fibers carried home on clothing.
Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel is a mid-sized plaintiffs’ firm dedicated to holding companies responsible for failing to adequately protect workers and their families from asbestos exposure. The firm’s asbestos attorneys have decades of experience pursuing pleural mesothelioma lawsuits, and will fight to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If you have been diagnosed with a disease caused by asbestos exposure, such as pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer, email or call 800.226.9880 to see how the asbestos attorneys at Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel can help you seek justice.