California Mesothelioma Lawyers
California has so much naturally occurring asbestos that serpentine, the source of chrysotile asbestos, is the state rock. In fact, more than half of the naturally occurring asbestos in the nation is found in the California, primarily in the state’s three main mountain ranges and the Mojave Desert. The deposits are located in 45 of the state’s 58 counties, with eight other counties having environments that are hospitable to asbestos.
As California grows and the demand for housing and businesses increase, many of the natural asbestos sites have been disturbed. The state’s major industries—including oil refineries, shipbuilding, power plants and factories—have heavily relied on the material for its insulative properties. The material was used a lot, particularly in the state’s 25 oil refineries and 11 power plants. So common is asbestos in California that the town of El Dorado Hills was build on it. This affluent town located near Sacramento is known to have alarming high airborne asbestos rates.
This amount and frequent use is dangerous because, when disturbed, asbestos releases tiny fibers that can be inhaled or ingested. These fibers build up within the body over time and cause several diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. In fact, California leads the nation in asbestos-related deaths. Between 1999 and 2008, 2,810 people died as a result of exposure.
California’s Asbestos Mines and Deposits
Of the multitude of asbestos sites in the state, 25 were used as mines. State officials proposed another 138 sites as well. In addition, the state’s Death Valley region has 55 deposits of talc, a mineral that often contains asbestos.
In 1883, the United Asbestos Manufacturing Company opened the first asbestos mine. By World War II, the demand for asbestos dramatically increased, and by 1959, about 9,050 tons of asbestos had been mined. Between 1959 and 2002, production climbed to more than 1.6 million tons.
In 1990, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) began prohibiting mining if asbestos samples were higher than 5 percent. More than a decade later, CARB determined that all mining products had to be tested before they could be used. Subsequent testing found the asbestos levels exceedingly high, and mines started closing.
California Asbestos Regulations
In addition to regulating mining, California started overseeing asbestos use. In 1986, the state formally recognized asbestos as a contaminate, placing limitations on who can handle asbestos and for how long. The state then mandated that people working directly with asbestos must be trained and certified according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Employees must follow strict sets of rules regarding asbestos handing, including time limits for handing the mineral. By 2007, the state required employers to lessen the chance of exposure.
Top Cities at Risk
Asbestos is present throughout the state, but some areas are more susceptible to exposure than others. For example, people living in Humboldt County are at a particularly high risk because of the naturally occurring asbestos. San Benito and Monterey counties also have large amounts, as does western El Dorado County. Large numbers of exposures have also occurred in Culver City and Signal Hill due to manufacturing plants and oil refineries.
Medical Criteria for Mesothelioma
Considering the large amount of asbestos and usage, California leads the nation in asbestos-related lawsuits. In fact, during the 1970s and 1980s, more than 60 percent of the court case filings were related to asbestos. To reduce that number, the state has tightened the medical criteria that must be met before they may file any legal action. Injured asbestos victims must show proof of their condition and that it has rendered them debilitated. This can be difficult, as mesothelioma can take decades to develop.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuits in California
In addition to setting medical criteria, California has set a statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are considering filing a lawsuit to recover damages, (800) 383-4861.