Louisiana Asbestos Attorneys
An effective Louisiana asbestos attorney should spend as much time listening as they do litigating, providing each client with the opportunity to fully tell their story. Workers exposed to asbestos years ago and even people within close contact (such as family members who may inhale asbestos fibers from worker’s clothing) may begin to encounter the symptoms of asbestos-related disease today. Understanding the details of each case and how it pertains to the victim’s history is essential to winning such cases and can make all the difference in obtaining a favorable settlement. If you want an experienced team of Louisiana asbestos attorneys to mount this kind of campaign on your behalf, contact Landry & Swarr today.
About Asbestos Exposure
Any time asbestos products begin to deteriorate, or are drilled, sanded, cut or in any way disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers enter the air where human beings breathe them in. Because of this, if workers sandblast an asbestos-containing material (insulation, joint compounds, paint) from a boat, the asbestos fibers released into the air may not only harm the workers, they could conceivably harm other people in the shipyard who unwittingly inhale the fibers. Asbestos fibers can remain airborne for hours, placing all those nearby in danger. When a person inhales these fibers, the fibers can be trapped in the digestive tract or in the respiratory system. The body may expel some of the fibers but many become stuck. These “stuck” fibers can lead to damage to the person’s DNA, as well as inflammation—which, decades later, can cause a serious disease. Asbestos exposure can lead to:
- Laryngeal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pleural effusion
- Pleural plaques
- Diffuse pleural thickening
Louisiana Jobs with Asbestos Exposure
The state of Louisiana is home to one of the largest seaports on the Gulf—New Orleans. In addition to being known for its riotous Mardi Gras celebrations, New Orleans is home to good food and good times. Unfortunately, New Orleans is also at the center of a state which continues to deal with asbestos issues. Across the nations, shipyards and oil refineries have struggled with asbestos exposure, and Louisiana has more than its share of those industries. Aside from oil refineries and shipyards, many buildings and products in the state have used asbestos in the past, exposing Louisiana residents to asbestos, and, ultimately, mesothelioma.
Because mesothelioma can take decades to appear, it can be difficult to determine the exact exposure location in some instances. Some Louisiana factories, chemical plants, refineries and power plants have definitely been found to have asbestos, which makes determining where the exposure came from easier, if a person worked in one of those places for a significant length of time. It is believed that more than 150 cities across the state have some level of asbestos exposure in one or more industries, with the most asbestos exposure sites being in New Orleans.
Some of the highest-risk occupations include any position where a worker routinely handles products containing asbestos or works in areas where products containing asbestos are often used. These high-risk occupations include:
- Pipe fitters
- Other jobs in shipyards
- Carpenters who use asbestos products
- Salt plants
- Chemical plants
- Rubber plants
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Fabrication manufacturers
- Sugar factories
- Wiring companies
- Steam plants
- Some hospitals
- Fishery Docks
Workers are not the only ones who may receive asbestos exposure from the above workplaces—those who live close could also be exposed to asbestos, when workers who mine, handle or process asbestos contaminate the outside air with airborne filters. A 2009 study tested the effects of environmental exposure among those living near an asbestos manufacturing plant. Those who lived near the plant had the highest rate of pleural mesothelioma (2.8 percent)—even higher than those who had occupational exposure (0.8 percent) to asbestos.
Products with Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure can come from many sources other than the workplace—building and renovation materials, secondhand exposure and household products, although those who typically develop serious mesothelioma worked in a chemical plant, shipbuilding yard, oil refinery or a manufacturing plant for a significant length of time. That being said, the National Cancer Institute says that as many as 5,000 consumer products contain asbestos, including building materials, hair dryers and small appliances. There is currently a question as to whether talc products contain asbestos, despite the fact that the government imposed mandates regarding asbestos in talc products in the 70’s.
Some soil conditioners and fertilizers contain asbestos-contaminated vermiculite, meaning those who engage in significant levels of gardening could be exposed to asbestos. Collectors who purchase older toasters and irons should be especially careful when handling these items as older appliances can release asbestos fibers when disassembled. Most handheld hair dryers contained asbestos until 1980; these dryers would blow asbestos-contaminated air directly into the user’s air. Asbestos was also used in ironing board covers, fireproof gloves, burner pads and electric blankets, and was a component of some portable heaters, dishwashers, gas fired decorative fireplace logs and wood-burning stoves.
Louisiana Sites Where Asbestos Exposure Has Occurred
Signs and Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure
Because it can take so long after exposure to asbestos for symptoms of mesothelioma to occur, in some cases the person with the symptoms fails to relate them to asbestos exposure, until the symptoms worsen. By the time symptoms are seen, the disease may have progressed significantly. The first symptoms of mesothelioma or other diseases caused by asbestos exposure include:
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Wheezing or dry cough
- Fever or night sweats
- Fluid surrounding the lungs
- Muscle weakness
Later-stage mesothelioma can bring the following symptoms:
- Increased pain
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Respiratory complications
- Bowel obstruction
- Difficulty swallowing
Early-stage signs of mesothelioma can be easily mistaken for the normal symptoms of much less serious illnesses, such as a bronchial infection, pneumonia, or COPD. In some cases, those with peritoneal mesothelioma are misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer or irritable bowel syndrome, and Pericardial mesothelioma is so rare that it can be confused with coronary heart disease or heart failure. Typically, a mesothelioma tumor starts as a tiny nodule on the abdominal lining or the lining of the lungs. Once the tumors grow and spread, they may press against the abdominal cavity or the chest wall. Addressing the symptoms of mesothelioma as soon as they develop can improve your medical outcome, allowing patients to have a better quality of life and live longer.
Asbestos Exposure from the 9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center
The September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center released literally tons of asbestos insulation into the air, causing major exposure problems for those involved in cleanup, rescue and recovery, particularly those who spent months at the site after the bombings. As many as 70 percent of those 9/11 workers suffered either new respiratory problems, or a worsening of present respiratory problems, and about 28 percent of the workers had abnormal lung function tests.
Environmental Exposure to Asbestos
When asbestos fibers are released into the air, either during the mining process, from a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, earthquake or tornado, or from the disturbance of a natural asbestos deposit, environmental exposure to asbestos has occurred. One study showed that while occupational exposure to asbestos has declined, there has been a rise in environmental exposure in specific geographic areas. The percentage of women and younger patients with asbestos-related diseases has grown steadily. When asbestos materials are removed from a home or another type of structure, those in the area could be exposed to asbestos. However you believe you suffered exposure to asbestos, it is important that you speak to a doctor, and an experienced asbestos exposure attorney to ensure your health is taken care of and your rights are preserved and protected.
Asbestos exposure is a serious health threat because it can cause severe forms of lung disease including asbestosis. And because the amount and time of exposure can be difficult to verify many years later it’s important to trust your case to those with experience in this area of the law. Landry & Swarr have been serving the families of Louisiana since 1999, and in that time the firm has gained a sterling reputation for aggressive and well-informed asbestos litigation. From asbestosis to lung cancer – our attorneys practice the full array of toxic chemical law.
Countless people come online every year looking for a way to compare and contrast the many legal firms to deal with these deadly diseases. Landry & Swarr believes that an outside evaluation is one of the best ways to make sound comparisons, and our firm is proud of its service to Louisiana and the local communities.
Let us help
If you would like a no-obligation consultation please contact us today. You can reach us by telephone at 866-275-8706 or come by our offices at 1010 Common St, Suite 2050 New Orleans, LA 70112.