Workers in paper mills face many on-the-job risks that are inherent in any type of factory work. While it is easy to see how working with heavy machinery with many moving parts can cause an injury, there is a serious danger that may go unseen in paper mills: asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure can lead to fatal diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Statistics on mesothelioma in paper mills
Paper mill workers can easily contract mesothelioma or lung cancer. Some paper mill workers are more at risk than others. One study reports that most cases of pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer in paper mills occurred in maintenance workers. Asbestos fibers can be found in paper mill equipment, including drying machines and insulating panels. Asbestos exposure amongst those who work in paper mills presents an increased risk of developing cancer.
Where can asbestos be found in paper mills?
Asbestos can be found in multiple places of a paper mill. Paper mill equipment such as gaskets, dryer felt and talc backing contains asbestos. Maintenance workers would come into contact with this equipment in the course of their job duties repairing machines. Workers who had to replace dryer felt were also exposed to asbestos. Industrial adhesives, insulation, tiles and paint used to construct the paper mill all can contain asbestos.
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma. Living with mesothelioma can cause significant financial burdens including medical expenses and lost wages from being unable to work. If you have mesothelioma you may want to explore your options for obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Case Story: Reuben and Danny Arnold
Reuben and Danny were father and son. All Danny’s life, the two were hunting buddies – setting off on weekends together in Washington’s beautiful forests. After Danny finished school, the two men became workmates when Danny went to work with his father. And when Reuben retired, he and Danny remained very close.
What neither anticipated was that soon after Reuben’s retirement, both father and son would die of asbestos-related cancer within a year of each other. Reuben was 66; Danny was just 49.
It was no mystery how the men came into contact with asbestos. Reuben had worked with asbestos insulation at many large industrial sites in the Northwest, including Boeing facilities in Seattle, Renton and Everett; the Simpson Kraft paper mill in Tacoma; and Shell and Texaco refineries in Anacortes.
Danny had followed his father into the trade, joining the same union in the 1970s. Asbestos precautions were routine by that point, and Danny always wore a respirator when working with the deadly material. But it was already too late – for years, he’d been exposed to the asbestos brought home on Reuben’s work clothes.
Bergman Oslund Udo Little represented both men in lawsuits filed against 32 defendants. Through our innovative and aggressive approach in the cases, we obtained what is believed to be the largest settlement ever in an asbestos case in Washington. We are proud that we were able to help Marjorie Arnold – Reuben’s wife and Danny’s mom – achieve the financial security they wanted for her.