Oklahoma Asbestos & Mesothelioma
Asbestos is the general term applied to a family of naturally occurring silicate minerals in fiber form. Until the seventies, asbestos had been used as insulation and as a fire retardant in a wide variety of applications in the United States because of its durability, strength and resistance to heat and fire (due to its fibrous nature). Because of asbestos' fibrous nature it can produce dust that, when inhaled, becomes deposited in the lungs, and can cause or contribute to the development of illnesses such as asbestosis, lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma.
The widespread use of asbestos in the United States ended in the seventies. Several federal and state agencies, including but not limited to, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), now strictly regulate workplace exposures.
Contact us today if you or a loved one has suffered health effects, such as mesothelioma, as a result of asbestos exposure by using the form on your left or by calling us toll-free at 1 (866) 664-0400 for a FREE case review.
According to Best's Review in September, 2001, the eventual total cost of asbestos claims & lawsuits is estimated to be $275 billion.
- $70 billion is estimated to be paid by U.S. insurers under general liability coverage
- $30 billion by non-U.S. insurers
- $175 billion uninsured asbestos lawsuit
Products that contained asbestos were intended to prevent the transfer of heat from one place to another, acting as insulation. Nearly all insulation materials manufactured before 1975 contained at least some asbestos. Some of those products may include:
- asbestos cloth
- asbestos cement pipe
- brake and clutch assemblies
- ceiling tile
- duct insulation
- fireproofing spray
- insulating cement
- refractory and boiler insulation materials
- packing materials
- insulating block materials
As previously mentioned, asbestos was also used because of its fire retardant properties, resulting in many other types of products manufactured prior to 1975 containing asbestos. Some of those products may include:
- acoustical tiles
- transite board
- joint compound
- vinyl floor tile
- roofing products
- insulated electrical wire and panels
- ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
Because many buildings and facilities were built decades ago using products that contained asbestos, asbestos is still an incredible health risk. With all the precautions today to avoid asbestos exposure, it could still be possible for someone to be exposed and develop an illness such as asbestosis, lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma. Because it can take up to 40 years for a person who had been exposed to asbestos to experience symptoms of malignant mesothelioma, victims may suffer now for exposure many years ago. Generally, the more intense or prolonged the exposure to asbestos was, the incidence of asbestos related diseases, such as mesothelioma, occur.
Asbestos in Your Home
It is very common for homes built or remodeled before the seventies to still contain materials with asbestos. About 30 million tons of asbestos fibers were used in the United States.
If you have purchased a home or are considering the purchase of one, the presence of asbestos is not necessarily a problem. The majority of individuals with asbestos-related diseases have been in the business of manufacturing, installing and/or removing asbestos products. Fortunately, most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos do not develop asbestos-related health problems. There is no known "safe" level of exposure so all exposure to asbestos should be avoided.
Asbestos is a health hazard only when it is in particle form in the dust from . As long as the materials that contain asbestos materials are intact and in a location where they are unlikely to be disturbed by remodeling or renovation, it may be better to have the asbestos sealed or encapsulated rather than completely removed.
If you suspect your house contains asbestos, the EPA recommends that you use a trained and certified technician to help you decide the appropriate action to take and that you ask these asbestos professionals to document their completion of federal or state-approved training. The EPA also recommends using separate firms for assessment and removal services, to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Because it is not always possible to determine if a product contains asbestos unless it is already labeled, it is best to assume that the product contains asbestos and not disturb it in any way until it is laboratory tested.
Most states require homeowners to disclose known hazards before selling. If you are selling a home with asbestos containing materials, check with a local attorney or real estate agent to determine your obligation to disclose the presence of asbestos.
In 1995, OSHA issued workplace standards for testing, maintenance and disclosure of asbestos, and Rental property owners are considered to fall in the category of "general industry" and are covered by these OSHA regulations. Unless the property owner rules out the presence of asbestos through testing, it is presumed that asbestos is present. If a landlord performs testing and discovers asbestos in a rental property, they are required to disclose the presence of the asbestos to the tenants. The presence of friable asbestos in rental property might be considered a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, and a tenant may be able to seek legal remedies.
Asbestos in Your School
Along with homes, asbestos was also used in the construction of schools and commercial buildings until the seventies.
In 1986, Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) to protect public and private school children and school employees from asbestos exposure. AHERA acknowledges that asbestos materials in schools that are intact generally do not pose a health risk, and includes provisions to monitor the condition of asbestos-containing materials, to manage the materials, and to keep open the lines of communication between all interested parties. Provisions of AHERA include:
- Each school must designate and train a person to oversee asbestos-related activities in the school. This person can be a consultant or a school employee.
- All buildings must be inspected for the presence of asbestos-containing materials.
- A management plan for controlling asbestos exposure must be developed, using accredited inspection personnel to implement the plan.
- All records should be available for public review.
- All teachers, parents and employees should be informed annually about the asbestos-related activities in the school.
- In the past school districts have been fined for failing to meet provisions of AHERA. This is not, however, an area of litigation that this law office handles.
We can handle your potential legal case if you are in any of these Oklahoma cities. Even if your city is not listed you may still speak with one of our Oklahoma asbestos attorneys by filling out our contact form or calling us toll-free at 1 (866) 664-0400.
Ada, Afton, Altus, Alva, Anadarko, Ardmore, Atoka, Bartlesville, Blackwell, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Checotah, Chickasha, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Duncan, Durant, Edmond, El Reno, Elk City, Enid, Erick, Frederick, Glenpool, Grove, Guthrie, Guymon, Henryetta, Idabel, Lawton, Locust Grove, Mcalester, Miami, Midwest City, Moore, Muskogee, Norman, Oklahoma City, Okmulgee, Owasso, Pauls Valley, Perry, Ponca City, Poteau, Pryor, Roland, Sallisaw, Sand Springs, Savanna, Shawnee, Stillwater, Stilwell, Stroud, Tahlequah, Tulsa, Vinita, Wagoner, Weatherford, Woodward, Yukon
Copyright © 2006 Garrett Law Office, P.C.
111 W 5th Street | Tulsa, OK 74145
Phone: 918-622-9292 | Fax: 918-549-6794