If you or someone you love is a current or former Utah resident/worker that has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-caused disease, you may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation. To learn more about your rights, contact a mesothelioma attorney in Utah today. We offer free and confidential case evaluations and do not charge for our services unless we make a financial recovery.
History of Asbestos Exposure in Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah was once home to two vermiculite processing plants which released high levels of asbestos into the environment. Vermiculite is an ore that is used in the production of potting soils and insulation. Most of Utah’s vermiculite was shipped in from Libby, Montana; mined from a site heavily contaminated with asbestos.
Who Is At Risk Of Asbestos Exposure?
Individuals who worked for the Vermiculite Intermountain Plant, which operated from 1941-1986 or the Intermountain Products Plant that operated from 1985-1987 were most likely exposed to asbestos during their employment. In addition to the actual workers being exposed, their family members may have also been put at risk. When asbestos is disturbed, a dust of tiny fibers forms and can be carried home in workers’ clothing and shoes. And, when the clothing or shoes are removed, the dust can be released in the home, putting other family members at risk for inhalation.
Individuals and families who lived near the plants may also have been exposed to dangerous amounts of asbestos floating in the air. When the tiny fibers are inhaled through the nose or mouth, they accumulate and build up and can cause serious, fatal illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Utah Residents and Workers at Asbestos Cancer Risk
In addition to the two vermiculite processing plants, Utah is home to several other sites that have been responsible for asbestos exposure. These include:
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Chemical plants
Individuals who worked in any of these Utah asbestos industries may also be at risk for developing an asbestos cancer disease such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer. It is important to note that the effects of asbestos exposure can take years, even decades, to develop. The symptoms of mesothelioma, for example, can sometimes take 50 years to develop. This means that workers who worked with asbestos 50 plus years ago could still be at risk.
Because of this, if you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney about your entire work history, not just your current situation. An experienced attorney may be able to help you trace your exposure to the wrongful actions of a company or plant several years ago. These details will be important to the outcome of your mesothelioma cancer claim.
Mining Dangers in Utah
One of the biggest and most profitable businesses in Utah is mining, and many workers here were put at risk of asbestos related diseases for decades. The mines are scattered throughout the state, with three of them in the located in the southwestern part of the state.
Miners often have to use raw strength to get various minerals from the earth which can release dangerous fibers into the air, including asbestos. However, some mine workers who did not even get in contact with the raw material still could have inhaled it when they ran machinery in the mine.
Tremolite and actinolite fibers were in many mines in Utah, which present a serious asbestos exposure danger. Short fiber chrysotile also was found in tremolite in the Big Pass Group mines.
Only the Tremolite No. 1 Mine was used specifically to mine for asbestos, but the fibers have been found in marble and calcite mines. Other contaminate mines in UT include Highland Boy Mine and the King David Mine.
Vermiculite Processing in Salt Lake City
For more than four decades, asbestos ore from the WR Grace Mine in Libby MT was sent to two facilities to be processed near Salt Lake City. Those two plants – Vermiculite Intermountain and Intermountain Products – were located near Utah Power and Light, which purchased part of the processing plants.
Later, soil and gravel at UT Power and Light was found to contain asbestos. In 2004, there was an abatement project done by EPA, but the station did remain open.
Asbestos Lawsuits in Utah
In 1993, there was an asbestos lawsuit that got to the Utah Supreme Court where the judges found that compensation only would be awarded to people who had a disease related to asbestos. The suit was filed against Mountain Fuel Supply Company by five workers. It was dismissed because the workers at the time of the suit had not developed any injuries due to asbestos.
However, the UT Supreme Court eventually reversed this decision. It held that the firm was indeed responsible for monitoring the future medical condition of the workers. However, the court also found that just being exposed to a harmful substance would not be enough for compensation.
Due to this decision, the state of Utah set up criteria that plaintiffs have to meet to be compensated for their medical expenses due to asbestos exposure:
- Exposure to a toxic material
- Caused by the negligence of the defendant
- Resulting in a higher risk of a serious illness
- Medical test for early detection exists
- Early detection is beneficial
- Test is prescribed by a qualified doctor
Get Help from a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Utah Today
If you or someone you know worked or lived near a vermiculite processing plant or for a Utah asbestos industry, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our attorneys have vast experience in helping individuals and families affected by workplace asbestos exposure recover compensation for damages such as past and present medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages and loss of social and economic support.
To learn more, please call 1-800-352-0871 or send us an email and someone from our firm will be in touch with you shortly.