California ranks number one out of all U.S. states for deaths caused by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Between 2,276 to 3,795 malignant mesothelioma deaths occur every year due to prolonged exposure to asbestos, and there are more related deaths from lung cancer and asbestosis.
In many instances, asbestos exposure came directly from working at job sites that used the toxic material. Most workers either never knew about asbestos on the job or did not know its risks.
Many people who worked in the state have since turned to a experienced California mesothelioma lawyer to help them fight against the manufacturers and companies that exposed them to asbestos.
There is currently more than $30 billion available in trusts funds for those who have been affected by an asbestos-related illness. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
We are happy to offer assistance to families in all California cities and towns, including:
Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Riverside, Stockton, Chula Vista, Irvine, Fremont, San Bernardino, Modesto, Oxnard, Fontana, Moreno, Valley, Huntington Beach, Glendale, Santa Clarita, Garden Grove, Oceanside, Santa Rosa, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Elk Grove, Lancaster, Corona, Palmdale, Salinas, Hayward, Pomona, Escondido, Sunnyvale, Torrance, Orange, Pasadena, Fullerton, Thousand Oaks, Visalia, Roseville, Simi Valley, Concord, Victorville, Santa Clara, Vallejo, Berkeley, El Monte, Downey, Costa Mesa, Inglewood, Carlsbad, Fairfield, Ventura, West Covina, Richmond, Murrieta, Antioch, Temecula, Norwalk, Daly City, Burbank, Santa Maria, El Cajon, Rialto, San Mateo, Clovis, Jurupa Valley, Compton, Vista, Mission Viejo, South Gate, Vacaville, Carson, Santa Monica, Hesperia, Westminster, Redding, Santa Barbara, San Marcos, Chico, San Leandro, Newport Beach, Whittier, Hawthorne, Citrus Heights, Livermore, Tracy Alhambra, Indio, Menifee, Buena Park, Hemet, Lakewood, Merced, Chino, and more.
Asbestos Exposure in California
Several companies and industries used asbestos heavily from the early 1900s until the 1970s. These included construction, shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, electronics, the military, and many other industries.
In the 1960s experts found a definite link between asbestos and illnesses like mesothelioma. Use of asbestos finally declined after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put limits on its use. Even with these limits, asbestos continues to impact thousands of individuals.
Today, people are still receiving diagnoses of asbestos illnesses. This is because it takes years or decades for symptoms to develop. There are several reasons that California residents, even today, are especially vulnerable to mesothelioma and other illnesses related to asbestos:
- California is home to many types of industries, which at one time used asbestos on a large scale. During World War II, California had many aircraft factories, radar and radio equipment manufacturers, shipyards, and automobile plants that used asbestos.
- According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, shipbuilders, and steamfitters were the civilian and military workers most exposed to asbestos.
- Military personnel who served between World War II and the mid-1970s experienced asbestos exposure for long periods of time while on active duty.
- Thousands of asbestos-laden homes and residential developments used asbestos and still harbor it today because the state’s population boom coincided with the prosperity of the post-Depression recovery.
- California has some of the highest levels of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) in the U.S. NOAs are harmless if they remain undisturbed under the Earth’s surface. However, the effects of earthquakes and human activity stir up asbestos fibers and release them into the air.
High Rates of Mesothelioma in California
The big increase in California’s population since the 1940s not only resulted in the state’s dynamic economic expansion but also an increase in mesothelioma cases. As more people moved to the state to seek jobs or to live in California’s temperate climate after World War II, the boom in construction resulted in widespread use of asbestos.
The serious health risks of asbestos were not known at that time. The fire- and heat-resistance of asbestos made it a desirable material for use in construction. Many buildings, including homes, schools, offices, and industrial factories still contain asbestos for this reason.
Workers who handled drywall, insulation, roofing materials, steam pipes, plumbing materials, and electrical wiring experienced the biggest risk of past exposure during the construction boom.
California Companies That Used Asbestos
Until the 1970s, when the real harm of asbestos to human health was realized and laws regarding its use changed, many companies and government agencies used asbestos. It helped add strength, and heat and fire resistance to materials, making it a useful mineral for many industries.
Electric companies, including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric used asbestos in power generating plants and powerhouses. Automobile, aviation, electronics equipment, computer science and chemical industries also used asbestos in materials.
Examples of these include Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, Boeing, North American Aviation, Rockwell, Honeywell International, Union Carbide, U.S. Steel, and Chevron. Companies that mined California asbestos included Bell Asbestos Mines, Ltd. and Calaveras Asbestos, Ltd. Both miners and nearby residents were put at risk of exposure.
California Asbestos Laws
California eventually enacted laws that mandated lower exposure rates. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), Title 8 sets specific guidelines for each industry for the reduction of asbestos exposure, air quality, and asbestos exposure documentation.
The DIR’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health enforces California’s asbestos standards in various areas, including construction, shipbuilding, and more.
Under subchapter 7 of Title 8, Section 5208 of the California Code of Regulations, there are several laws pertaining to the abatement, handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos within the state, which includes the following:
- Breathing air zone limits are set for all employees who work around asbestos. This determines not only the amount of asbestos that employees can be around, but also help to limit the amount of time they are around it.
- Employees who work around asbestos must be monitored at all times.
- Employees must be professionally trained on how to work around and handle asbestos.
- Facility and building owners must determine the location and amount of any asbestos. They must then inform both employees responsible for handling asbestos.
- Warning signs and posting that clearly convey asbestos in the work area must always be posted around the vicinity of the workplace.
- Protective clothing and respirators must be worn at all times by workers who are around asbestos. Tools and equipment must also be cleaned thoroughly.
For more detailed information, contact the California Department of Industrial Regulation’s at 510-286-7000.
California Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Cases
The Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1 mandates that asbestos-related cases in California are filed separately from personal injury cases. Asbestos cases also have a different statute of limitations. Plaintiffs filing an asbestos or mesothelioma lawsuit must do so within one year after the victim suffered from the first signs of the condition or within one year after the victim knew or should have reasonably received a diagnosis.
Wrongful deaths lawsuits must be filed within one year of the victim’s death. It’s important to work with an experienced lawyer if filing an asbestos case, as it is easy to miss the window of opportunity without that expertise and knowledge of the laws.
Getting California Legal Help
Keep in mind that you may qualify for substantial damages if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis. Get our free Financial Compensation Packet for info on the top mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in your area . If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.