Colorado ranks as 29th in the U.S. in asbestos-related deaths due to its geographic location and to various industries which have exposed people to asbestos fibers. The state lies on the eastern ridges of the Rocky Mountains; the flatlands in the eastern reaches are devoted to irrigated agriculture. In the more elevated parts of the state, mineral extraction, including mining for gold, coal, diamonds, and molybdenum is a major enterprise. It also has extensive natural gas wells and several oil fields. As a result, numerous residents who fell ill to asbestos-related diseases have reached out to an experienced and dedicated Colorado mesothelioma lawyer for assistance.
Over $30 billion in trust funds is available to asbestos disease victims and their families. If you have been diagnosed mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a substantial amount of compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
We help all asbestos victims and their families in every city and town in Colorado, including:
Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Pueblo, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Boulder, Greeley, Longmont, Loveland, Grand Junction, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Commerce City, Parker, Littleton, Northglenn, Brighton, Security-Widefield, Dakota Ridge, Englewood, Ken Caryl, Wheat Ridge, Pueblo, West Fountain, Lafayette, Columbine, Windsor, Evans, Erie, Louisville, Clifton, Golden, Sherrelwood, Montrose, Durango, Cañon City, Cimarron Hills, Welby, Greenwood Village, Sterling, Fort Carson, Black Forest, Lone Tree, Superior, Fruita, Steamboat Springs, Johnstown, Federal Heights, Berkley, Cherry Creek, Fort Morgan, Firestone, Castle Pines, The Pinery, Frederick, Glenwood Springs, Alamosa, Edwards, Rifle, Gunbarrel, Stonegate, Evergreen, Craig, Woodmoor, Delta, Roxborough Park, Redlands, Cortez, Fruitvale, Trinidad, Fairmount, Derby, Lamar, Fort Lupton, Woodland Park, Gleneagle, Stratmoor, La Junta, Applewood, Aspen, Wellington, Gypsum, Orchard, Mesa, Twin Lakes Cdp, Carbondale, Eagle Avon, Air Force Academy, Cherry Hills Village, Estes Park, Milliken, Sheridan, Gunnison, Monument, and more.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma in Colorado
Colorado is located in a mountainous area rich in mineral resources. Thus, the state is laced with deposits of asbestos, particularly those of the amphibole variety. The fibrous minerals usually lie in the same mineral veins as coal, gold, and molybdenum. if left undisturbed, these naturally-occurring asbestos minerals are relatively harmless to humans.
However, man-made activities, including mineral extraction and processing, stirs carcinogenic asbestos fibers into the environment where they can be breathed in. If this exposure continues for extended periods of time, the asbestos fibers build up inside the mesothelium, the lining that covers the lungs, heart, and the abdominal cavity. Eventually, these fibers create lesions that mutate slowly into tumors. These tumors, in turn, cause asbestos-related cancers such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma cancer.
Mesothelioma is relatively rare. There are approximately 3,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. However, this asbestos cancer takes years to develop. Sometimes a patient can have mesothelioma tumors in the body’s tissues fifty years after being exposed to asbestos. Its symptoms mimic those of more common illnesses, thus making accurate diagnoses difficult.
Though some cases of asbestos cancer are caused by accidental exposure to naturally-occurring asbestos, the majority can be traced to man-made activities in various work sites in Colorado. Exposure to asbestos at these job sites can be incidental; unprotected coal miners extracting and processing lignite coal may unwittingly stir amphibole asbestos and inhale or swallow the fibrous minerals.
In many cases, though, asbestos exposure in such work sites as Ft. Collins’ Rawhide Energy Station and the Estes Power Plant in Larimer County was caused by the use of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) as insulation and fire-retarders in facilities with high-heat operations.
People have used asbestos fibers for thousands of years because they are flexible and resist fire, extreme heat, and caustic chemical changes. For much of the 20th Century, many industries used asbestos to protect factories, power plants, chemical manufacturing plants, and other facilities from the effects of fire, high temperatures, and other hazards. At first, no one knew that asbestos desirable properties are outweighed by its noxious effects on humans.
It wasn’t until the 1890s that British doctors noticed hints of a connection between exposure to asbestos and factory workers’ respiratory illnesses. It would take another 30 years for the first legal cases to be filed against the asbestos mining interests. Finally, in the early 1970s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published the first official reports linking asbestos exposure to the emergence of mesothelioma cases in the nation.
As in other states in the Union, Colorado’s heavy industries were the nexus of asbestos exposure, especially in the 30 years between the Great Depression and the middle of the Cold War. This period, which includes the four years of U.S. involvement in World War II, was the peak period of asbestos mining, distribution, and large-scale use in industry and construction.
The U.S. government, especially the military, was a heavy user of asbestos. Many government facilities in Colorado, including the Army’s Ft. Carson and the Air Force’s Buckley Air Force Base (AFB) and Peterson AFB, were built in the 1940s and 1950s.
The building materials used to construct these bases contained asbestos; some of these materials include vinyl floor tiles, insulation, sheets of roofing materials, pipes, and electrical wiring of the period. These asbestos-laced materials were used to build hangars, barracks, administration buildings, off-base dependents’ housing, and schools.
ACMs were also widely used by the civilian sector, especially in job sites with furnaces, steam generators, dynamos, and smelters. Steel mills, oil refineries, and power plants built between 1930 and 1973 contained huge quantities of asbestos. The power plant near Estes Park built in 1950 incorporated asbestos insulation in its components, particularly in its three steam-powered generators. Maintenance personnel and other workers may have been exposed to asbestos fibers while carrying out repairs or making scheduled inspections.
Another electricity-generating plant where ACMs were used in its construction is Denver’s Cherokee Power Station. Its four units were built between 1957 and 1968 and generate electricity by burning lignite coal. Every high-temperature component was originally built with asbestos insulation.
The fibers from this insulation became “friable” with the passage of time. Workers involved in upgrades and installation of emission-reducing equipment inhaled or swallowed asbestos fibers disturbed by their activities.
Asbestos fibers also made their way onto workers’ clothes and hair. These dangerous fibers were thus introduced into the workers’ residences and placed family members at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Prominent job sites impacted by the presence of asbestos include:
- Western Minerals Company asbestos processing plant in Denver
- Mountain Bell Telephone Company building in Denver
- Sedalia Copper Mine near Salida
- Conoco Oil Refinery in Grand Junction
- Grand Junction VA Medical Center
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Colorado is ranked 29th in the U.S. in asbestos-related deaths. The EWG’s report states that 311 Coloradans died of asbestos-related diseases between 1979 and 2008. 268 of these deaths were caused by mesothelioma; the remaining 43 fatalities were caused by asbestosis.
Colorado Asbestos Laws
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDHPE) implemented several asbestos regulations after the hazards of asbestos fibers were made apparent by the EPA, including the following:
Before starting any remodeling or renovation project, a licensed Colorado asbestos building inspector must first inspect the building and report the amount and location of asbestos to the state.
A permit from the state must be granted before the removal of any asbestos from public building and facilities. However, private homeowner do not need a permit as long as the asbestos is limited to your primary residence only. However, asbestos should still be handled by a licensed professional.
Landfills equipped to take asbestos must be contacted in advance for approval. Keep in mind that most landfills in Colorado will only take non-friable asbestos. Friable asbestos are only accepted at five landfills within Colorado. Each landfill has its own sets of regulations, so be certain to understand the requirements when deciding on which landfill to use.
Written notification must be sent to to the CDHPE prior to working around asbestos. This applies to all buildings, facilities, and structures, except for private residential homes. The written notification must be received at least 10 days before the work is set to begin.
For additional information, contact the CDHPE directly at:
- Denver County: 720-865-5474
- Jefferson County: 303-271-5714
- Pueblos County: 719-583-4982
Colorado Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Cases
Statute of limitations for asbestos-related cases in Colorado fall under personal injury law: Colorado Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102 et seq. Plaintiffs wishing to file an asbestos-related lawsuit must do so within two years of the time of diagnosis or within two years from the date the disease should have been reasonably discovered. For wrongful death lawsuits, plaintiffs must file within two years of the actual death date of the victim.
Getting Legal Assistance in Colorado
Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you have questions or need assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.