Foundry and Smelter Workers
The risk of asbestos exposure for plumbers, pipefitters, and other metal workers is well-documented. One illness that results from this exposure is mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, and other life-threatening conditions. The mesothelioma lawyers at Bergman Oslund Udo Little provide legal representation to the victims and families of asbestos exposure in the Pacific Northwest through claims to recover compensation from manufacturers and others at fault for the medical harms of asbestos.
Metalwork is a common career path for those in the Pacific Northwest because of Oregon and Washington’s many foundries, shipyards, and manufacturing facilities. However, a chief occupational hazard of this work is the high risk of exposure to asbestos through the equipment and materials that metal workers handle daily.
While awareness of the dangers of asbestos has grown in recent years and led to significant safety measures, you may have just been recently diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease from your past exposure. This is because asbestos-related diseases have long latency periods. Symptoms of a disease may not appear until decades after exposure.
Additionally, many building materials and equipment still contain the substance. Thus, pipefitters, plumbers, and other metal workers may still handle asbestos-containing products daily.
The mesothelioma lawyers at Bergman Oslund Udo Little could provide support after a diagnosis by seeking potential compensation from those responsible for your asbestos exposure in Oregon and Washington.
Metal Workers and Occupational Asbestos Exposure
The heavy use of asbestos in manufacturing, construction, and other commercial applications began in the early 1900s. It did not slow until the 1980s, when the government placed greater constraints on its use after evidence of harm became more publicly known.
The qualities of asbestos made it an inexpensive material for resisting heat and other chemicals. The substance was widely used as an insulator. Thus, harmful exposure is not uncommon for foundry and metal workers. Despite regulations, occupational asbestos exposure was and continues to be a real risk in metal production because of its use as an insulator.
As a foundry worker, you could have been exposed to asbestos in personal protective equipment and other tools used in daily tasks through the 1970s. For example, aprons, gloves, jackets, and other items commonly contained asbestos. As these items aged and broke down, the material’s toxic fibers were released into the air.
Exposure to asbestos-containing materials in foundries is also possible through contact with worn-down or outdated manufacturing equipment like furnaces, boilers, tanks, and ovens in steel mills.
Aluminum Smelter Workers
Asbestos products were prevalent in the aluminum smelting industry. Workers have likely been exposed to the material while producing and repairing various machines, parts, and building materials. The aluminum smelting process involves the use of high voltage electricity and extreme heat. This not only required the use of thermal insulation, but high temperature cements and refractory products that contained asbestos. Given the age of the facilities, aluminum smelter plants in Washington and Oregon also utilized asbestos components in machinery, electrical systems, and fireproofing materials.
Where Were Metal Workers Exposed to Asbestos in the Pacific Northwest?
Metal production and related work are cornerstones of the Pacific Northwest’s economy. The area is a natural hub for trade because of major shipping ports in Seattle, Portland, the Columbia River, and the Willamette Valley. Additionally, metalwork is essential for producing and repairing the naval vessels used in military and commerce. Aluminum production is also important to the aviation industry.
The prevalence of metalwork throughout the 1900s means many people were at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. You may now suffer from the long-term effects of asbestos exposure through work in the following job sites throughout Washington and Oregon:
The Potential Harms of Long-Term Asbestos Exposure on Your Health and Life
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber. When disturbed, the tiny asbestos fibers are a hazardous pollutant released into the air. Inhaling asbestos-filled air can cause the fibers to become lodged in the tissue of your lungs and other organs for extended periods. Over time, the fibers can inflame and scar the tissue in your organs, causing respiratory issues such as asbestosis.
Even more dangerous, asbestos exposure can cause several types of lung cancer. One of the most common cancers associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a rare cancer in the thin-membrane tissue of your lungs. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. While the prognosis for mesothelioma will vary from person to person, only around 10 percent of mesothelioma patients survive five years or more.
Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Conditions
It can take years for the effects of occupational asbestos exposure to appear. Medical conditions like mesothelioma could occur long after you stop working in a foundry or mill. If you are a metal worker who is experiencing any of the following conditions, seek medical evaluation and treatment immediately:
Protecting Metal Workers from Asbestos Exposure in Oregon and Washington
You can still find asbestos used in steel production facilities and products, but Oregon, Washington, and the federal government have implemented regulations to improve the working environments and protect at-risk employees. Some of the ways that metal industry employers can mitigate potential harm from contact with asbestos by taking the following initiatives:
Employers and others who fail to follow applicable regulations for asbestos could face civil penalties and fines.
Mesothelioma Lawyers for Metal Workers & Their Families
A diagnosis attributable to asbestos exposure through your occupation as a metal worker could enable you to pursue compensation from manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, and premises owners. This compensation reimburses the damages you’ve incurred because of your illness. These damages could include recovery for the following:
If you are a family member or loved one of a metal worker who died from an asbestos-related condition, you could pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
You could also access compensation through an asbestos trust fund. Courts required asbestos companies to establish these trust funds after they filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of mesothelioma-related lawsuits. Over $30 billion was set aside to compensate victims and could be available to workers in Washington and Oregon.
When Must You File an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Oregon and Washington?
Claims for illness from workplace exposure to asbestos generally fall under a state’s statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. It’s important to meet with an attorney to determine the filing deadlines that could apply to your case. Failure to file within this period could lead to a dismissal of the case and prevent recovery of otherwise legal rights to compensation.
If you are a metal worker diagnosed with mesothelioma or another serious medical condition, now could be the time to seek available claims with the help of a mesothelioma lawyer.
Why Choose Bergman Oslund Udo Little?
Bergman Oslund Udo Little is the Pacific Northwest’s premier asbestos and mesothelioma law firm, with offices in Portland and Seattle. Since 1995, Our attorneys have fought for the rights of others when companies wrongfully exposed them to dangerous asbestos fibers in their work. Asbestos law is all we do.
With our zealous advocacy, we’ve recovered over $1 billion for clients and held corporations accountable for valuing profits over the safety and health of metal workers. While not predictive of results in future cases, here are some notable recoveries:
Read what our former clients have said in reviews and testimonials about our representation. Afterward, schedule a free case review with Bergman Oslund Udo Little to discuss your legal rights following an asbestos-related diagnosis of mesothelioma or another illness. Click here to Get a Free Case Review.