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Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a durable, heat-resistant mineral widely used in shipyards, power plants, paper mills, nuclear facilities, and oil refineries. It is also the only known cause of Mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer. Over 60 countries have banned the import or use of asbestos, but it has not been fully banned in the United States. 

Key Takeaways
  • Asbestos, a mineral known for its durability and heat resistance, was widely used in various industries, including shipyards and power plants. Despite its well-known health risks, it remains legal in limited quantities in the U.S.
  • Exposure to asbestos fibers, which can occur when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, can lead to severe health conditions like mesothelioma by scarring and inflaming internal membranes.
  • Certain professions, such as construction, industrial work, and military service, carry a higher risk of asbestos exposure. This risk is especially high for veterans, due to the historical use of asbestos in military equipment and facilities.
  • If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another serious illness resulting from exposure to asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to speak to an experienced asbestos attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options.

Legal Options for Victims of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure can cause life-altering medical conditions. Microscopic asbestos fibers can be released into the air when asbestos is disturbed or damaged. Once inhaled or ingested, these fibers may get stuck in the mesothelium, the membrane protecting most of their internal organs. Over time, these fibers scar and inflame the mesothelium, scarring, and thickening, sometimes referred to as plaques. Cancerous tumors may also develop, leading to mesothelioma. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little can advise you about asbestos exposure, determine the validity of your asbestos case, and fight tooth and nail to secure maximum compensation for your exposure.

Get Help with Your Mesothelioma Compensation Options

Where Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?

Asbestos exposure happens when people disturb asbestos by interacting with products containing asbestos. Job sites with asbestos exposure include: 

Shipyards – used asbestos in vessels and shipyard buildings. Asbestos lined engine spaces, steam pipes, boiler rooms, and other high-temperature areas. 

Power plants – often used asbestos insulation for boilers, pipes, and turbines. 

Nuclear facilities – frequently use asbestos in steam equipment, fireproofing, machinery, and buildings.

Oil refineries – used asbestos in pipes and equipment to prevent combustion risks and insulate against high temperatures in refinery processes. Asbestos was also found in building materials, machinery, and safety gear. 

Paper mills – used asbestos in and around boilers, pipes, turbines, and machinery. Asbestos was used in felts used to dry pulp during papermaking. Paper mill workers were also exposed to asbestos when creating asbestos paper products.

Common Products That Lead to Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards, power plants, and other workplaces frequently used asbestos-containing products before the 1980s. Common products that lead to asbestos exposure included the following: 

Jobs Most At Risk for Exposure to Asbestos

Some professions are at a higher risk of asbestos exposure, such as the following: 

Boiler workers may have come into contact with asbestos while installing, manufacturing, and repairing boilers. 

Construction workers who work inside older homes and buildings may experience asbestos exposure, especially if they interact with siding, plaster, and floor and ceiling tiles. 

Firefighters may come into contact with asbestos fibers when fighting fires in buildings built before 1980.

Industrial workers may come into contact with asbestos when handling gaskets, refractory products, and valves. They may also have worn asbestos-containing protective clothing to resist high temperatures. 

Insulators were exposed to asbestos-containing products until the 1980s. Insulators still experience asbestos exposure when working in older buildings, homes, schools, and ships. 

Machine operators who operate heavy equipment, such as cranes and bulldozers, often come into contact with asbestos in brake linings.  

Pipefitters are exposed to asbestos from boilers and pipes built before the 1980s. 

Sheet metal workers were exposed to asbestos when sawing, cutting, and distributing asbestos-treated metal products. They were also exposed to asbestos through insulated walls and asbestos pipes. 

Electricians are exposed to asbestos from insulation products and electrical components. 

Aircraft mechanics may have come into contact with asbestos while replacing high-friction materials, such as heat shields, clutches, and brakes.  

If you may have been exposed, contact an asbestos lawyer in Washington or Oregon as soon as possible.

Asbestos Exposure and Veterans

Although the military largely stopped using asbestos in the late 1970s, ships, living quarters, and vehicles still contain the material. Veterans may have also been exposed while serving in another country.  

Here are the top sources of military asbestos exposure: 

Veterans exposed to asbestos may be eligible for VA compensation.

Common Questions About Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is mined out of rock. Due to its heat-resistant qualities, asbestos was used extensively in industry and onboard ships for thermal insulation. Asbestos was also used as a binder in numerous drywall and cement products.

Asbestos is not dangerous in its inert form. However, when it is cut or disturbed, asbestos releases millions of microscopic fibers into the atmosphere. These fibers, when inhaled deep into the lung, can cause irreversible injury to humans.

High levels of asbestos exposure can cause asbestosis. The risks of developing asbestos lung cancer or mesothelioma are relatively low—less than 10 percent—even for heavily exposed workers but the risk is lifelong and increases with age. People who experience long-term asbestos exposure have a higher chance of developing asbestos lung cancer, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease.

On March 18th, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a final rule prohibiting ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only known form currently used in or imported to the United States.  However, many other countries around the world still produce and export asbestos.

Under the laws of Washington and Oregon, every company that manufactured and supplied an asbestos product to which you were exposed is potentially liable for your asbestos injury. Thus, in prosecuting an asbestos lawsuit, one of the biggest challenges is identifying the manufacturers of the asbestos products to which you were exposed.

We have detailed product identification information on hundreds of job sites in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, as well as hundreds of Navy vessels. Even if you do not know the manufacturers of the asbestos products that you worked around, we can probably identify some of the products to which you may have been exposed based on the job sites where you worked.

Although the dangers of asbestos were well-known in the medical community by the 1930s, asbestos was manufactured and used in industry and construction until the mid-1970s. These companies understood that there was a lot of money to be made distributing asbestos products, and they were confident that the illnesses would develop so long after the individuals were exposed to their products that they would never be held responsible.

Asbestos Lawyers in Washington and Oregon

Receiving a diagnosis for an asbestos-related illness can be overwhelming, even with insurance covering the bulk of your medical costs.

At Bergman Oslund Udo Little, we stand ready to assist. Our skilled attorneys specialize in asbestos exposure and mesothelioma litigation in Oregon and Washington, advocating tirelessly for victims and their families. Our empathetic team will meticulously assess your situation to establish if you have grounds for a compensation claim. Should you qualify, we are committed to assisting you in collecting and safeguarding crucial evidence, constructing a robust case, negotiating with the opposing parties, and representing you in court when needed.

To explore your legal options, contact us today. In addition to offering complimentary resources about asbestos-related illnesses and a detailed guide to mesothelioma, we also provide free case evaluations.

Speak to a Mesothelioma Attorney Today

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520 Pike St. #1125
Seattle, WA 98101
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1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204
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Representing Asbestos and Mesothelioma Clients Throughout the Northwest.
Seattle Office

520 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

Portland Office

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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