Florida, one of the fastest growing states in the U.S., has a long history of asbestos use. From schools, homes, business buildings, and more, asbestos was once used excessively for its affordability, ease of use, and resistance to fire and heat. Subsequently, thousands of people developed asbestos-related illnesses, and the need for experienced Florida legal representation increased.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in Florida, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
We offer help to all families in Florida, including all cities, such as:
Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, Cape Coral, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Gainesville, Coral Springs, Lehigh Acres, Brandon, Miami Gardens, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Pompano Beach, Lake City, West Palm Beach, Spring Hill, Lakeland, Davie, Miami Beach, Plantation City, Sunrise, Boca Raton, Deltona, Palm Coast, Largo, Deerfield Beach, Town ‘n’ Country, Melbourne, Alafaya, Riverview, Kendall, Boynton Beach, Lauderhil,l Weston, Fort Myers, Pine Hills, Kissimmee, Homestead, Delray Beach, Tamarac, Daytona Beach, North Miami, Wellington, Kendale Lakes, Palm Harbor, North Port Jupiter, The Villages, Ocala, Port Orange, Coconut Creek, Sanford, Margate, Poinciana, The Hammocks, Tamiami, Port Charlotte, Fountainebleau, Sarasota, Pensacola, Bradenton, Palm Beach Gardens, Doral, Pinellas Park, Coral Gables, Country Club, Bonita Springs, Wesley Chapel, Apopka, Titusville, Cutler Bay, Oakland Park, North Miami Beach, Fort Pierce, North Lauderdale, Altamonte Springs, Egypt Lake-Leto, University Cdp, St. Cloud, North Fort Myers, Ocoee, Greenacres, Ormond Beach, Hallandale Beach, The Acreage, Kendall West, Winter Garden, Aventura, Richmond West, South Miami Heights, Panama City, Oviedo, Valrico, and more.
History of Asbestos Use in Florida
Florida’s population has been growing since the 1940s. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida has been one of the fastest growing states in the nation for decades. Due to the increasing population, construction has been a main part of Florida for over 50 years.
In addition to the construction of buildings and homes, shipbuilding was a major part of Florida’s economy for decades. Both the construction and shipbuilding industries have been associated with high use of asbestos prior to the 1980s.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the construction and shipbuilding industries has some of the highest rates of workers developing mesothelioma cancer. Consequently, Florida has become one of the first states to limit asbestos lawsuits by creating strict stipulations before a plaintiff can file a case. These laws came after an outpour of asbestos-related cases in the state, resulting in Florida becoming one of the leading states for asbestos lawsuits.
Shipbuilding and Asbestos
The shipbuilding industry relied heavily on asbestos in Florida throughout most of the 20th century until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed regulations on its use in the 1970s. Just about every vessel created during this time contained asbestos, and it was used literally everywhere including:
- Deck covering materials
- Tubes and packing material
- Grinders and gaskets
- Bedding materials
- Engine and fire rooms
- Mess halls
Construction Work and Asbestos
Construction workers were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis for several years prior to the 1970s ban. Asbestos was used in numerous house-building materials such as flooring, roofing shingles, textiles, insulation, and more. A multitude of Florida buildings that were created when asbestos was heavily used are still in operation today, including several hospitals, banks, libraries, schools, government buildings, and more.
Workers exposed to the dangerous fibers of asbestos ran the risk of the tiny, fine particles getting caught in their lungs, which years later can lead to asbestos-related illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Today, thousands upon thousands of workers who were exposed decades ago are undergoing mesothelioma treatments after the diseased lied dormant in their bodies for several years. In fact, Florida is one of the leading states today for the most asbestos-related lawsuits after victims filed for damages after being diagnosed with life-threatening health issues.
Asbestos Processing Plants
Prior to the early 1980s, there were a few vermiculite asbestos processing plants in operation in Florida. One plant in particular, the Zonolite and W.R. Grace & Company Exfoliation Facility in Tampa, has been processing vermiculite since the 1950s, and is still in operation today.
In 2005, however, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) began inspecting and evaluating the plant after determining that the vermiculite processed from the 1950s until 1970s came from Libby, Montana. Vermiculite that came from Libby contained high amounts of asbestos. The Libby mine shut down during the 1990s, there are still traces of asbestos-containing vermiculite all the across the nation, including a few asbestos processing plants in Florida.
Although ATSDR and DOH determined the current asbestos levels at the Tampa processing plant are now extremely low, they advise anyone who worked at the plant prior to the 1990s to seek regular medical health checkups as its almost guaranteed they were exposed to large amounts of asbestos.
Other Industries Associated with Asbestos Use in Florida
In addition to construction and shipyards, other businesses in Florida where workers could have been exposed to asbestos include automotive plants, oil refineries, sheet metal plants, cement plants, paper mills, and more. The following is a list of businesses in Florida that have been associated with asbestos at some point in time:
- Avon Power Park Plant
- Big Bend Power Plant
- Armour Chemical Plant
- Florida Crushed Stone Cement Plant
- WR Grace Phosphate Plant
- U.S. Gypsum Plant
- Union Camp Chemical Plant
- Alton Box Plant
- American Cyanamid Chemical Plant
- Escambia Chemical Plant
- Newport Chemical Plant
- Hookers Point Power Plant
- Culbreath Power Plant
- Nitram Chemical Plant
- Peter O’Knight Power Plant
- U.S. Phosphoric Plant
- Georgia Pacific Plywood Plant
- Debary Power Plant
- Georgia E. Turner Power Plant
- Fort Myers Power Plant
- Gator Power Plant
- Anclote Power Plant
- Inglis Power Plant
- Arizona Chemical Plant
- Gulf Power Plant
- Calpine Auburn Power Plant
- Florida Crushed Stone Cement Plant
- Fort Lauderdale Power Plant (Florida Power and Light)
- Patrick Air Force Base
- Eglin Air Force Base
- Homestead Air Force Base
- Naval Air Station (NAS)
- Pensacola Naval Shipyard
- Tyndall Air Force Base
- American Container Paper Mill Rayonier Paper Mill
- St. Regis Paper Mill International Paper Mill
- Smurfit-Stone Container Pulp and Paper Mill
- Champion Paper Mill
- St. Regis Paper Company Mill
- Bollinger Shipyard
- Gibbs Shipyard
- Jacksonville Shipyard
- Tampa Bay Shipbuilding
- Wainwright Shipyard
University of Florida
- Tampa Electric
- Cape Canaveral Kennedy Space Center
- CF Industries
- Anheuser-Busch Brewery
- Exxon Oil Refinery
- Hess Oil
- Reliant Energy
- Monsanto Textiles
- Duke Energy
- CPV Cana Ltd.
Florida Laws on Asbestos
Because of the dangers involved with asbestos exposure, Florida has state laws under Chapter 62-257, Florida Administrative Code. These laws were mandated in order to protect people and employees from the hazardous effects of the materials:
If an owner of any facility that contains asbestos plans to renovate, remove, or disturb the asbestos materials in any way, they must first fill out and submit a “Notice of Demolition or Asbestos Renovation Form.” The form must be sent to the owner’s Local Air Program or to the Department’s District Office.
The removal, demolition, or renovation of asbestos-containing materials must be performed by someone who has completed all NESHAP or OSHA training, and is professionally certified to work around asbestos.
Any employee or person working around asbestos must also wear protective clothing and have access to personal hygiene products at all times.
Any residential home, duplex, or apartment that’s involved in removing or renovating asbestos-containing materials must not be put up for rent or sale until the work is completed and approved by the state.
Schools and building containing asbestos must be inspected on a regular basis.
Florida’s Asbestos Reform Law
In 1997, the state of Florida created a law to help victims that have already been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Known as the Florida Asbestos Reform Law, the law mandates that victims who have already been diagnosed be given priority when filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. The law came about after the state saw an overwhelming 90% of cases in which the claimants exhibited no symptoms of asbestos-related disease and had no diagnosis.
However, anyone in the state of Florida has the legal right to hire an asbestos lawyer and file for damages if they have been exposed to asbestos and feel another party is responsible. In other words, being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease is not a requirement to file for damages. However, those that already have a diagnosis will have their case pushed through faster than those who have yet to get a diagnosis.
Florida Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Cases
Under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq.,plaintiffs must file an asbestos-related lawsuit in the same fashion and with the same statutes of limitations as a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed within four years of the diagnoses of an asbestos-related disease or within four years from the time the disease should have been reasonably discovered. Asbestos-related wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within four years of the victim’s death.
Getting Florida Legal Help
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more. Get our free Financial Compensation Packet for information on the top mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in your area. If you have questions or need assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.
“State Population Estimates and Demographic Components of Population Change: April 1, 1990 to July 1, 1999,” Population Estimates Program, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC