California is the state which has most mesothelioma deaths in the U.S. More than 3000 people die in the state every year from mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by prolonged asbestos exposure. In most cases, mesothelioma is a result of long-term occupational exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos, a toxic mineral, was a common ingredient in a variety of commercial products until the 1980s because of its affordability and excellent resistance to fire and heat. An efficient California mesothelioma lawyer can help you fight against the parties responsible for your asbestos exposure and win a significant amount in compensatory damages.
At present, asbestos trust funds have over $30 billion for compensating the victims of asbestos exposure.
Legal Assistance in California
You could be entitled for significant damages if you have been diagnosed with asbestos-related medical conditions such as mesothelioma. We can help you if you want to meet the best mesothelioma lawyer in your city. Please call us immediately at 1-800-706-5606 or fill out our contact form.
Asbestos in California
Asbestos-containing materials have been used in the United States since the 1900s. Its use was so extensive until the 1980s as the hazards associated with the mineral was not fully known. Almost all industries, including construction, automobile, electronics, and shipbuilding, used this deadly carcinogen due to its low cost and useful physical properties. Its use became restricted and regulated gradually after researchers found a clear link between asbestos exposure and catastrophic medical conditions like asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. But the carcinogenic effects of asbestos still affect millions of people. Most of the victims are military veterans or former employees who worked in industries that used asbestos abundantly until the 1980s.
Because of the prevalence of the mineral used by military facilities and civilian industries in the state, almost everyone in California is at the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. California is home to a variety of industries which were large-scale asbestos users in the past. For example, the state had several aircraft factories, shipyards, automobile plants and radio and radar equipment manufacturers during the Second World War.
All industries used asbestos materials for many different purposes. According to researchers with the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, shipbuilders, and pipefitters are the military and civilian workers who were at the highest risk of asbestos exposure. Additionally, military employees who served the nation between the Second World War and the 1970s were exposed to the cancer-causing mineral for long time periods during their duty. For this reason, most people currently being diagnosed with mesothelioma are above 65.
In California, women and children also are at the risk of asbestos exposure because numerous asbestos-laden residential developments and homes are still there in the state. Many homeowners are likely to perform renovation projects. If the renovation is not done properly, asbestos fibers could be released into the air, putting everyone in the surrounding area at the risk of inhaling the cancer-causing particles.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) lies close to fault lines on coastal plains in California. Though NOA is not harmful to humans as long as they remain intact, effects of human activity or natural erosion could stir up toxic asbestos fibers and cause them to be released into the environment.
The unbelievable increase of population in California since the 1940 resulted in remarkable economic expansion of the state. However, it also caused a significant increase in malignant mesothelioma diagnoses as well as deaths linked to asbestos-induced diseases. As many individuals moved to California for seeking jobs or for living in the temperate climate of the state following the Second World War, the subsequent boom in the construction industry resulted in extensive asbestos use. The hazards of asbestos weren’t widely known that time. On the other hand, its excellent fire- and heat-resistant properties made asbestos attractive for all industries including the construction industry. So, millions of schools, homes, factories, hospitals, and office buildings were constructed with full of asbestos-containing materials. Workers who dealt with drywall, roofing materials, insulation, plumbing materials, electrical wiring, and plumbing materials suffered heavy asbestos exposure.
California Businesses that Used Asbestos
Many government agencies and companies used asbestos extensively for a variety of purposes. The hazardous mineral was used either to resist fires and extremely high temperatures or to strengthen other building materials. The California companies that used asbestos include: Pacific Gas and Electric; San Diego Gas and Electric; Southern California Edison; Chrysler; Ford Motor Co; Boeing; Honeywell International; Rockwell International; N. American Aviation; Chevron; U.S. Steel; and Union Carbide.
Additionally, California had two asbestos mines: Calaveras Asbestos Limited; and Bell Asbestos Mines Limited.
Asbestos Laws in California
The state’s first response to the link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure was to indorse laws mandating lower asbestos exposure rates. The asbestos standards in fields such as construction and shipbuilding are enforced by the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH). According to the Title 8 guidelines, HEPA vacuums should be used to clean areas contaminated with asbestos dust. Additionally, all California employers should provide sufficient air quality levels and document each instance of asbestos exposure.
Under the Code of Regulations, there are quite a few laws concerning the handling, abatement, and disposal of asbestos-containing materials within California. These laws include:
- Breathing zone air samples should be available to each of the employees working around asbestos;
- Employees working with and near asbestos should be monitored at every time in accordance with the time-weighted average (TWA);
- All employees should be trained professionally on how to handle and work around asbestos;
- Building and facility owners have the responsibility to determine the location and amount of any asbestos present. They should inform the details to employees responsible for dealing with asbestos;
- There should be posting and warning signs around the workplace vicinity, clearly indicating the presence of asbestos materials in the work area;
- The workers who are close to asbestos should wear respirators and protective clothing.
California Statute of Limitations for Asbestos and Mesothelioma Claims
Per California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, asbestos exposure / mesothelioma claims are filed separately from personal injury claims and have different statute of limitations. Asbestos lawsuit should be filed within a year after the victim started suffering the initial signs of the medical condition or within a year after the patient knew / should’ve reasonably known regarding the disease. Wrongful death claims also have to be filed within a year of the death date of the victim.