California is currently ranked No. 1 in the United States for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related deaths. It is estimated that 2,276 to 3,795 malignant mesothelioma deaths occur every year due to prolonged exposure to asbestos. In many instances, asbestos exposure came directly from working at job sites that used this toxic material and without the knowledge of workers. 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
Asbestos materials were heavily used in the U.S. from the early 1900s until the 1970s in construction, shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, electronics, and national defense applications and in other industries. In the 1960s a definitive link was found between asbestos and certain serious illnesses, like mesothelioma. After the the early 1970s, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first set regulations to limit use of asbestos exposure declined.
However, asbestos, a human carcinogen, continues to affect thousands of individuals, mostly men who served in the military or worked in any industry which used asbestos between its peak years of use. Due to the prevalence of asbestos used by civilian industries and military facilities in California, everyone in the state is potentially at risk of being exposed to asbestos.
California is particularly vulnerable to mesothelioma deaths for several reasons. The state is home to many types of industries which at one time were large-scale users of asbestos. For instance, during World War II, California had a lot of aircraft factories, manufacturers of radar and radio equipment, shipyards, and automobile plants.
All of these industrial complexes used asbestos for various purposes. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, shipbuilders, and steamfitters were the civilian and military workers who were most exposed to asbestos between the late 1930s and the end of the war.
Furthermore, military personnel who served between World War II and the mid-1970s were exposed to asbestos for long periods of time while on active duty. This is the principal reason why mesothelioma is diagnosed mainly in white males aged 65 and older.
Families and idnividuals in California are still at risk of increased exposure to asbestos fibers. Because the state’s population boom coincided with the prosperity of the post-Depression recovery of the late 1940s and early ‘50s, thousands of asbestos-laden homes and residential developments still exist in California. Do-it-yourself renovation projects are popular, but they can disrupt and stir asbestos dust into the air, leading to unintended exposure.
California is also one of the largest repositories of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA). Because there is a lot of earthquake activity in the state there is a risk that these natural deposits can be disrupted and cause exposure. In California, NOAs lie in veins near fault lines on the coastal plains and the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada. NOAs are harmless to humans if they remain undisturbed under the Earth’s surface. However, the effects of earthquakes, natural erosion and human activity stir up asbestos fibers and release them into the air.
California Mesothelioma Cases
The explosive increase of California’s population since the 1940s not only resulted in the state’s dynamic economic expansion, but also in an increase in mesothelioma diagnoses and deaths. As more people moved to the state to seek jobs or to live in California’s temperate climate after World War II, the resulting boom in construction resulted in widespread use of asbestos.
At the time, asbestos’ health dangers were not widely known. Instead, the mineral fibers’ heat- and fire-resistant properties made them attractive for the construction industry. Millions of homes, schools, office buildings, and factories were built with materials filled with asbestos, and many still contain these materials. Workers who handled drywall, insulation, roofing materials, steam pipes, plumbing materials, and electrical wiring were at 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, many companies and government agencies used asbestos for various purposes. Asbestos-containing materials were used to either strengthen other construction materials or to resist high temperatures and fires. These properties were of useful in industries that were at high risk of fire or extreme heat and in ordinary building components like insulation.
In California, asbestos materials were used by many companies. Electric companies, including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric used asbestos in power generating plants and powerhouses. Others included automobile, aviation, electronics equipment, computer science and chemical industries.
Examples include Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, Boeing, North American Aviation, Rockwell, Honeywell International, Union Carbide, U.S. Steel, and Chevron. The asbestos mining industry also had a presence in California, being represented by industrial companies such as Bell Asbestos Mines, Ltd. and Calaveras Asbestos, Ltd.
California Asbestos Laws
California’s initial response to the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was to enact 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. Such guidelines include the use of HEPA vacuums for cleaning areas where asbestos dust is commonly found, sealing enclosures during the cleaning process, and alternative methods scientifically proven to be safe and efficient.
Additionally, Title 8 requires all employers in the state to provide adequate of air quality levels and to document all instances of asbestos exposure. 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 examples must be made available to all employees who work around asbestos. This will determine the not only the amount of asbestos that employees are 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 according to the time-weighted average limit (TWA)
- Employees must be professionally trained on how to work around and handle asbestos.
- Facility and building owners are responsible for determining where any asbestos is located as well as the amount. They must then inform both employees and their employers that are 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 before they can leave the area in which the asbestos project occurred.
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 also be filed within one year of the victim’s death.
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.