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Construction Workers’ Exposure to Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Construction workers who are exposed to asbestos may develop a specific type of cancer called mesothelioma. Carpenters, pipefitters, roofers, cement masons, electrical workers, bricklayers, and heat insulators are just a few of the trades where workers develop this type of cancer from past exposure to asbestos. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may worry how you will pay for your medical care and provide for your family when you are unable to work. If you decide to pursue legal action, our lawyers and professional support staff are very mindful of your concerns. We promise to take exceptional care of you and your family.

Men and women who worked in the construction industry before the 1970s have a higher likelihood of developing mesothelioma than people working in construction today. Yet construction workers continue to be at risk of developing this cancer as some building materials and products containing asbestos are available even now.
 

Asbestos in Construction Prior to the 1970s:

Knowledge of the damaging effects of asbestos on human health dates back to ancient times. Prized for its ability to withstand high temperatures without catching fire, asbestos became widely used in products where heat resistance is a requirement. For this reason, it has been extensively used in building and construction, especially in schools, hospitals, and industrial centers.

Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop. It can take 20 to 40 years or longer for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure. Some people get this cancer from even a brief period of exposure to asbestos. Those who worked with asbestos in the last century may still contract this cancer.

Some construction products containing asbestos before 1975 are:

  • Floor tiles and adhesive used to affix the tiles to the floor
  • Linoleum
  • Spackling, caulking and joint compound on drywall
  • Plaster and cement
  • Some roofing materials
  • Insulation for walls, pipes and HVAC ducts
  • Some forms of siding
  • Boilers

 

Asbestos in Construction Since the 1970s to the Present Day:

During the 70s, growing awareness and asbestos litigation led some companies to stop using asbestos and others to develop some safety protocols to protect workers. Although there is greater awareness of the health risks from asbestos exposure now, construction workers are still in danger. Despite the reduction of the cancer-causing mineral in construction products, asbestos has not been banned and is still legal in construction and other products available today. Contractors and construction workers may also come into contact with asbestos during repair, renovation, removal, or maintenance of buildings and homes constructed years ago. For example, installing a fan or a light fixture in a ceiling can stir-up asbestos dust and put the worker’s health at risk for developing mesothelioma. For some even such a short-term exposure to asbestos can cause them to contract the disease.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) list building and construction materials that may contain asbestos and should only be handled by specially trained professionals while wearing protective gear. Some of asbestos-containing products on the EPA and CPSC lists that have not yet been banned are:

  • Cement corrugated sheet
  • Cement flat sheet
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle
  • Millboard
  • Cement pipe
  • Gaskets
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Roof coatings

 

Family Members of Construction Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Spouses, children and others living with someone who works with asbestos are at risk of developing mesothelioma. People working with or near products containing asbestos may carry asbestos dust and fibers home on their skin, hair, clothing, shoes, and other personal items. This second-hand exposure can put others in the home at risk of mesothelioma.

There have been many cases of mesothelioma among the wives of men who worked with asbestos products. These women’s asbestos exposure occurred when they handled their husbands’ work clothes. For example, we represented a woman who contracted mesothelioma when she was exposed to asbestos in the course of shaking out and washing her husband’s work clothing. Her husband was an insulator. At a jury trial, she was awarded over $27 million. Read more about the $27,342,500 verdict for former wife of insulator.
 

Kazan Law’s History of Helping Construction Workers and Unions

In 1974, when workers at the Johns-Manville Company’s plant in Lompoc, California became sick and started dying, their labor union representative wrote a letter to our founding partner, Steven Kazan.

Steven had recently opened his law practice in Oakland. He was litigating complex medical and scientific issues. He had previously assisted another lawyer trying to get workers’ compensation benefits for some men who had worked in the Johns-Manville Company’s asbestos products plant in Pittsburg, California. He subsequently represented the workers in civil lawsuits and won a landmark lawsuit for Reba Rudkin, who had developed lung disease after working for 29 years at the Pittsburg plant. After winning this landmark case, Steven represented over 100 asbestos-affected workers from the same company.

In the early 80s, Steven had 393 cases pending against the Johns-Manville Company when it filed for bankruptcy court protection. He resolved these cases with the trust fund set up as a result of the bankruptcy. Steven Kazan is well-known across the United States as one of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and successful lawyers in the area of mesothelioma litigation.

Today Steven and Kazan Law are still in Oakland, California. We are still winning lawsuits and obtaining large settlements for workers to help pay for their medical care and expenses and give them peace of mind that their families will have financial support when they are too sick to work. Below are several examples of lawsuits where we have helped construction workers:

  • Machinist diagnosed with mesothelioma while working at a foundry from 1972-1992. He breathed in asbestos dust for 20 years because of a faulty respirator that failed to protect him. $32.8 million verdict. (William and Becky Tyler v. American Optical Corporation, 2016)
  • Man developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure while working for his grandfather’s boiler business over the span of five summers as a kid. $5 million awarded. (Hellam v. Crane Co., 2014)
  • Woman contracted the cancer from years of handling and washing her husband clothes, who worked as a pipe insulator. $27 million verdict. (Grigg v. Owens-Illinois, 2013)
  • Cement contractor developed mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos dust while inspecting homes from the 1950s to 1990s. $48 million was awarded. (2012)

 

We Can Help You

A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating for you and your loved ones. The disease may cause you physical pain and discomfort. In addition, you may worry how you will pay for your medical care and take care of your family when you can’t work. One solution is to hire a lawyer.

We provide individual attention and take exceptional care of each client. We have only one focus: represent people who have mesothelioma in the State of California – people who have lived or worked in California, or are currently living in California. Practicing only one type of law, in only one state, for over four decades, our attorneys are the most experienced mesothelioma lawyers in California.

We know the process of selecting a law firm and lawyer to represent you can seem complicated, especially when you are sick and have to deal with doctors and insurance forms. Our team of lawyers and professional support staff make the process easy for you.

  • The first step is to contact us. We can be reached 24/7 via live chat, telephone or by filling out the form on this page.
  • Our intake professionals will obtain information from you to determine if our law firm may be able to assist you.
  • One or more lawyers will personally come to meet you at your home or another location that is convenient to you. They will listen to your story and explain in plain English your legal rights and how we may be able to help you obtain compensation to ease your financial worries.
  • You will never be asked to pay any fees and you will never receive any bills from us. Our fees are only collected when we win or settle your case. After a portion goes to the firm, the majority of the money will be paid to you.

Cases concerning mesothelioma are time-sensitive and many factors can impact your ability to pursue a claim or lawsuit. One is the statute of limitations. The law allows a limited period of time for legal action to be initiated after a person is diagnosed with or has died from mesothelioma.

Let us help you. Call us at (888) 906-2956, chat online, or complete the form on this page for a free consultation today.

Read more about construction workers’ exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma: