Our asbestos attorneys help individuals and families throughout Hawaii with asbestos claims involving fatal diseases such as mesothelioma. We have helped families across the nation collect millions in compensation for injuries caused by asbestos exposure. To find out how we can help you, please contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today.
History of Asbestos on Hawaii
Hawaii is home to two major military bases and large oil refineries where asbestos fibers are present and may have put workers and residents at risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious illnesses.
Before the 1970s asbestos was considered a wonder material and was used to make thousands of products due to its durability and resistance to heat and fire. Asbestos was woven into textiles that were used to make fire protective aprons, gloves and clothing to protect workers in hot environments. It was also used for:
- Insulating boilers in building furnace rooms and Navy engine rooms
- Fire protection in walls, doors and floors
- Production lines
- Insulation and other building materials in refineries and chemical plants
Asbestos was used so often in Hawaii in past decades that a HI State Department of Health representative found that residents must live around and among asbestos constantly. He noted that the mineral can be present in construction all over the state.
In 2004, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) placed the former Vermiculite of Hawaii plant on its top priority list to be cleaned up. That agency found that the factory in Honolulu received high amounts of asbestos from the infamous mines and processing center based in Libby MT. This happened from the 1950s until the 1980s. Even though this Hawaii facility stopped handling the asbestos in 1983, the fibers could have been there until 2001. Employees and residents of the area were at risk for asbestos exposure for decades.
In 2001, the EPA did a clean up of the lot, which is ½ acre in size. After that cleanup was done, the ATSDR stated that residents are no longer at any risk of asbestos exposure. However, anyone who lived or worked in that area should be checked each year for any sign of asbestos diseases.
Asbestos and Veterans
According to statistics, veterans are among the top workers to have mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. Today, veterans represent approximately 8 percent of the nation’s population, but they comprise 30 percent of all known mesothelioma deaths that have occurred in the country.
Nearly every ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy between 1930 and 1970 contained several tons of asbestos insulation in the engine rooms and doors and walls for fireproofing. The men and women who manned and repaired these vessels were exposed to asbestos every day.
Active members of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Army were also exposed daily due to products such as:
- Asbestos flooring
- Ceiling tiles
- Wall insulation
- Asbestos building cement in the foundation and base structures
- Gaskets and brakes in military vehicles
The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is the home of many tons of asbestos, some of which has long since been removed. However, during the war and for a few decades after, at least 10,000 people were exposed to asbestos in ships and buildings there. The EPA designated this entire complex as a Superfund site, so many former workers could eventually be diagnosed with asbestos related illnesses.
Mesothelioma Statistics in Hawaii
Approximately ½ of the 140 asbestos cancer deaths reported in Hawaii from 1979-1999 were caused by mesothelioma. The difference was found to be even more pronounced on Kauai and Maui; on those islands, mesothelioma victims were found to outnumber people with asbestosis by 2:1.
This is rather unusual, in that mesothelioma is a very rare disease, especially when compared to asbestosis. There could be many answers to this question, but one possible answer is that much asbestos insulation that is used in ocean vessels was of the amphibole variety, which contains needle like fibers and causes mesothelioma faster.
Also, remember that all respiratory diseases have similar symptoms early on. This can make mesothelioma very hard to properly diagnose until it is very advanced. Because of its malignancy, mesothelioma often does spread to other areas of the body. Meanwhile, the progression of asbestosis usually will cease when the asbestos source is removed.
Mesothelioma Lawyers Hawaii: Helping Veterans and More
Our asbestos lawyers help veterans in Hawaii and their families seek compensation for asbestos exposure they experienced while serving duty. Sometimes it can take 50 years for the symptoms of mesothelioma to develop, so it’s important for veterans to work with qualified mesothelioma attorneys who can help prove their disease is not only related to asbestos exposure but that the exposure occurred during active duty.
We also represent current and former refinery and factory workers on the Islands who have suffered as a result of asbestos exposure while on the job. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos cancer, or if your loved one died as a result of mesothelioma or another illness related to asbestos exposure, we can help you get the treatment you need as well as the legal representation you need to move forward and recover compensation for your damages.
To learn more, contact the Hawaii asbestos lawyers of Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today.