It is easy to assume workers are always protected. But that’s not the case
If you have worked in certain industries in South Carolina, and at certain sites, you may be at risk for mesothelioma, also known as malignant mesothelioma. A fairly rare and aggressive cancer that resists most drug treatments, it is strongly workplace-related. Each year brings about 3,000 newly-diagnosed cases.
Mesothelioma is linked to exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen, and especially to the inhalation of asbestos’s microscopic fibers. You might think that workers would be protected from such hazards these days, but it wouldn’t be the truth. The fact is, between 1999 and 2013, exposure to asbestos caused approximately 610 deaths, with 470 of the fatalities due to mesothelioma. Nationally during that same period, over 37,000 people died from the disease.
What Is Mesothelioma?
The mesothelium is a lining composed of specialized cells residing inside the chest cavity, abdomen, around the heart, and around the testicles. Cancer of any mesothelium is called mesothelioma. A rapidly-spreading and deadly variety of cancer, the median survival period after being diagnosed is 12 to 21 months, even with treatment. Three out of four mesotheliomas begin in the chest cavity (known as pleural mesothelioma), metastasizing to other organs, often the lungs and the brain.
Occupations with Special Mesothelioma Dangers
Certain locations and occupations increase your risk of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, such as working in an asbestos mine or processing plant, in the shipbuilding industry, in power-generating plants, and in certain other high-risk occupations in the construction and automotive industry.
Although, with a few exceptions, asbestos is no longer used, in the past its usage was widespread because of its strong fire-resistant properties. Because it takes so long for mesothelioma to develop, potential cases are still waiting to happen. The past usage of asbestos could still be causing deadly disease.
South Carolina Industries with Mesothelioma Hazards
The shipbuilding industry, centered around Charleston, is comprised of a number of occupations that exposed countless workers to asbestos over the years. Asbestos became widely used by shipbuilders because fires onboard ships can move quickly, providing no alternative to save oneself except jumping overboard.
However, it’s not just ship builders at risk. Asbestos, as it ages, crumbles easily, releasing easily-inhaled fibers into the air. Any Navy veteran could be in danger of developing mesothelioma if he spent significant time at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.
Building power plants also exposed workers to the hazards of asbestos and mesothelioma. Its fire-retardant properties were as useful in power plants as they were on ships, but some kinds of asbestos are also highly resistant to electrical current and were especially prized. Unfortunately, in the power plants, asbestos was often sprayed where it was needed, spewing deadly fibers into the air that workers would breathe day after day. Sometimes, after the material was sprayed on fittings and gaskets, these gaskets would need to be cut to create a snug fit, and this action would release still more asbestos fibers. If you worked at a power plant, or still work at an older plant and often make electrical repairs, you should be wary.
Another way that South Carolina workers were exposed to asbestos was through the mining of the substance. The mountainous regions of our state, along the North Carolina and Georgia borders, contain deposits of serpentine, known as the source of “white” asbestos.
Finally, other SC businesses such as chemical plants, factories, and mills also exposed workers to asbestos and, potentially, to mesothelioma.
South Carolina Cities with Asbestos Exposure
In our state, a number of cities have or had workplaces where asbestos exposure was definitely known to have occurred. These workplaces could be any number of locations that commonly had dealings with asbestos, such as shipyards, power plants, asbestos mines, and more. If you worked in one of these cities, you may be at risk of mesothelioma.
Job sites in other SC cities and towns—construction sites, factories, fiberglass plants and chemical companies—could also have put you at risk for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. That list includes the following locations:
- Beech Island
- Calhoun Falls
- Charleston Heights
- Fort Jackson
- Mount Pleasant
- Myrtle Beach
- Parris Island
- Port Royal
More research is called for on your part if you worked in any of the industries or known companies where asbestos was used.
When life goes wrong, we fight for what’s right.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, physical disability, and emotional pain and suffering. If you are considering a mesothelioma-related lawsuit, it is important to talk with an attorney with significant experience in South Carolina workplace injury law and mesothelioma cases.
The Louthian Law Firm has been trying — and winning — lawsuits in South Carolina since 1959. We’re committed to providing excellent, personalized service and the best results for our clients. To speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney today, call us at (803) 454-1200, or fill out our confidential online form for a free initial consultation. The Louthian Law Firm. Seeking truth. Securing justice.