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For the last few months, Mesothelioma Lawyers have been reporting on the more than two dozen work sites across the country that were exposed to asbestos after processing vermiculite.
Both workers at the plants as well as their families and neighboring residents could have been exposed, which could lead to illnesses, including mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. After a federal review of these sites by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, investigators tested soil and air samples to determine whether asbestos is still present even some two decades after these plants closed.
A mine in Libby, Montana, was responsible for producing more than 70 percent of the country’s vermiculite from 1919 to 1990. But much of the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos. While many people didn’t know the ill effects of this natural mineral, they became apparent as years went on and workers and their families became terminally ill.
As microscopic asbestos flakes are ingested and travel through the body’s bloodstream, they settle on the lining of major organs, such as the lungs or heart. There, they can stay for up to 30 or 40 years before a person has the typical symptoms of mesothelioma — coughing, chest pain and other upper-body ailments. Once a person is diagnosed, their average life expectancy is 12 months.
While many companies and businesses may not have known of the problems caused by asbestos exposure when it was first used for insulation and other uses, they later became aware of it. Tragically, many employers failed to protect the health and welfare of workers being exposed to asbestos.
The purpose of this blog series is to inform Americans about places they or a loved one could have been exposed to asbestos and to educate the public about how this natural mineral can affect a person’s body.
Mesothelioma in Dearborn, MI: This Zonolite Company/W.R. Grace site operated from the 1950s to 1990 and were exposed to hazardous levels of asbestos.
While the workers at the current site don’t appear to have been exposed to asbestos, soil samples taken in the last decade indicate asbestos may still be in the ground.
Mesothelioma in Minot, ND: This former Robinson Insulation Company plant operated from 1945 to 1983 and received vermiculite from Libby.
From 1967 to 1983, the plant processed more than 16,000 tons of vermiculite. The Minot Parks Department purchased the property in 1993 and used buildings to store equipment. Homes site as close as 175 yards away. Under federal supervision, the buildings were torn down and soil containing Libby asbestos was removed and replaced with clean fill in the early 2000s.
Mesothelioma in Glendale, AZ: This Ari-Zonolite Company plant processed Vermiculite from 1951 and 1964. The CDC warns that former workers, family members and those who lived near the plant could have been exposed to asbestos.
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