Asbestos in Cowlitz County Paper Mills
Cowlitz County paper mills exposed many workers to asbestos, causing them to develop asbestos-related conditions, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Workers often do not know they are sick until decades after initial exposure. If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness from working at Cowlitz County paper mills, contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little. We have over 20 years of experience helping asbestos victims and their families.
The first major companies to build factories in Cowlitz County were linked to the timber industry. Founded in 1927, Longview Fibre Paper & Packaging produced kraft paper and lineboard. Today, it is a vital electricity and energy-generating facility.
Until the 1980s, every paper mill in Cowlitz County used asbestos in machinery and construction materials for fireproofing and durability. Paper mill workers were exposed to asbestos, putting them at risk of developing asbestosis and mesothelioma.
How Much Asbestos Exposure Have Paper Mill Workers Faced?
Cowlitz County asbestos paper mills used asbestos in paper mill equipment and building materials for decades. Workers at risk for asbestos exposure in paper mills include:
- Maintenance personnel
- Workers who directly worked with asbestos fabrics and felt
- Pulping, boiler, and paper-making workers
Asbestos Found at Longview Fibre Paper & Packaging in Cowlitz County, WA
Longview Fibre Paper & Packaging used asbestos products from the 1940s to the late 1970s. In the mid-1980s, it began encasing or removing asbestos. Unfortunately, people who worked at the mill before the mid-1980s had already been exposed.
According to a lawsuit filed in the early 2000s, Shellenbarger v. Longview Fibre Co., asbestos was found asbestos at Longview’s plant in Cowlitz County, Washington, in the following products and areas:
- Pipe coverings and machine hoods
- Dryer felts
- Warehouse number three, where asbestos was cut
- Pitch control agents and gaskets
Risks of Mesothelioma for Paper Mill Workers
Cowlitz County paper mill workers with a history of asbestos exposure have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma.
Workers develop mesothelioma by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. These fibers can get stuck in the mesothelium, causing scarring and inflammation. Over the next 15 to 50 years, malignant tumors may grow in the scar tissue, leading to mesothelioma.
There are four major types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma develops in the tissue covering your chest wall and lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, night sweats, lower back pain, difficulty swallowing, and fever.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen. Symptoms include swelling, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
- Pericardial mesothelioma starts in the lining of the heart. It causes breathing difficulties and chest pains.
- Testicular mesothelioma affects the membrane surrounding the testicles. It is also called mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis. Symptoms include a mass or swelling on a testicle.
In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos exposure also causes other forms of lung cancer and asbestosis, in which lung tissue scarring and stiffening leads to breathing difficulties.
Depending on the stage of your mesothelioma, age, and overall health, medical providers may prescribe the following mesothelioma treatments:
- Surgery removes as much cancerous tissue as possible. An example of a pleural mesothelioma surgery is extrapleural pneumonectomy, where the surgeon removes the diseased lung, pleura, part of the diaphragm, and part of the pericardium.
- Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body, including cancer and healthy cells. Side effects include hair loss, constipation, infection, easy bleeding and bruising, and anemia.
- Radiation therapy uses intense energy beams to kill mesothelioma cells. It’s often used before surgery to shrink cancer or after surgery to stop remaining cancer cells from growing. Side effects include fatigue, headaches, skin changes, hair loss, and blurry vision.
- Immunotherapy uses man-made or natural substances to help the immune system find and destroy mesothelioma cells more effectively. Side effects include constipation, fatigue, arthritis, chills, fever, and decreased appetite.
- TTFields therapy uses electricity to interrupt mesothelioma cells’ ability to grow and spread. One side effect is skin irritation.
Legal Options for Paper Mill Workers Exposed to Asbestos
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma from working at a Cowlitz County asbestos paper mill, Bergman Oslund Udo Little can help. Our asbestos lawyers can provide legal advice. Depending on your case, we can help you file:
- A personal injury lawsuit: You may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers and your employer if you developed mesothelioma from working at a Cowlitz County paper mill. If your lawsuit is successful, you may receive economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for objective losses, such as medical bills, out-of-pocket costs, and lost wages. Non-economic damages compensate for subjective losses such as loss of quality of life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. You may also be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit if a loved one worked at a Cowlitz County paper mill and indirectly exposed you to asbestos.
- A wrongful death lawsuit: If a loved one died of mesothelioma and contracted the condition from working at a Cowlitz County paper mill, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the lawsuit is successful, you and your family may receive compensation for funeral and burial fees, the deceased’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. You may also be eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased contracted mesothelioma through indirect exposure.
- An asbestos trust fund claim: If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma from exposure to an asbestos product created by a bankrupt manufacturer, you may be eligible to file an asbestos trust fund claim. Asbestos trust funds set aside money for current and future asbestos claims. Such claims are usually resolved faster than personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
Since 1995, Bergman Oslund Udo Little has fought for asbestos victims and their families. We have collected over $1 billion for our clients. We have created a database of information on major paper mills, industrial facilities, shipyards, oil refineries, and power plants throughout Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. We are familiar with the unique circumstances facing veterans.
Contact a Bergman Oslund Udo Little asbestos attorney for a free mesothelioma case review.