Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the U.S. It also has a long history of asbestos use. From schools and residential homes, commercial buildings and industrial work sites, asbestos was once used extensively for its affordability, strength and flexibility, and resistance to fire, heat, and electricity.
Because of the heavy use of asbestos, thousands of people in Florida have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Many people in Florida need legal representation to get justice for exposure. If you have been harmed by asbestos in the state, it’s important to contact an experienced lawyer.
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 can help any families in Florida, including those in the following cities:
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.
A History of Asbestos Use in Florida
The population of Florida has been growing since the 1940s. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Florida’s population is increasing faster than most other states. All of this growth has spurred a boom in the state’s construction industry, and construction materials have historically contained a lot of asbestos.
In addition to the construction of buildings and homes, shipbuilding and shipping made up a major part of Florida’s economy for decades. These industries continue to be important. Both construction and shipping industries have been heavy users of asbestos, especially prior to the early 1980s.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these industries have some of the highest rates of asbestos exposure and numbers of workers developing mesothelioma. Florida became one of the first states to create strict filing requirements for asbestos cases because of the high number of mesothelioma lawsuits.
Shipbuilding and Asbestos
The shipbuilding and shipping industries, so important in Florida, relied heavily on asbestos for most of the 20th century. Asbestos was used almost everywhere on ships including in:
- Deck covering materials
- Tubes and packing material
- Hydraulic materials
- Bedding materials
- Engine and fire room equipment
- Fireproofing materials
Asbestos in the Construction Industry
Like the shipping industry, the construction of buildings also relied heavily on asbestos. Many laborers, carpenters, framers, plumbers, electricians, and other workers on construction sites were exposed to asbestos for several years prior federal regulations. Asbestos was used in flooring, roofing shingles, textiles, insulation, wall board, caulking, adhesives, siding, and many other construction materials.
Many of the buildings constructed during this time are still standing and in use. This includes public and commercial buildings like schools, libraries, hospitals, banks, and government buildings, as well as residential homes. Residents and workers in these buildings today are still at risk of exposure.
Mineral Processing Plants
Many different types of industrial plants used asbestos in the past, including those that processed other minerals like vermiculite. Florida once had many of these plants and some still operate now. One plant still operating is the Zonolite and W.R. Grace & Company Exfoliation Facility in Tampa.
In 2005 the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) began inspecting and evaluating the Zonolite plant after determining that the vermiculite sent there from the 1950s until 1970s came from Libby, Montana.
Vermiculite that came from Libby was contaminated with 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 handful of processing plants in Florida.
ATSDR and DOH determined the current asbestos levels at the Tampa processing plant are now low. They still advise anyone who worked at the plant prior to the 1990s to seek regular medical health checkups and cancer screenings.
Other Industries Associated with Asbestos Use in Florida
Shipping, construction, and mineral processing have long been big industries in the state. But they are not the only ones to use asbestos. Some of the other businesses in Florida known to have used asbestos at one point in time include:
- 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’s Asbestos Laws
Florida laws related to asbestos exposure include Chapters 62-257 of the Florida Administrative Code. These laws were written to protect residents and employees from the health effects of asbestos:
Plans to renovate, remove, or disturb the asbestos materials in a building must be reported with a “Notice of Demolition or Asbestos Renovation Form.”
The removal, demolition, or renovation of asbestos-containing materials must be performed by a worker who has completed all NESHAP or OSHA training and is certified.
Any employee working around asbestos must be provided with and must wear protective clothing.
Any residential home or apartment 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 passed a law to help speed up the legal process for sick victims of asbestos exposure. Known as the Florida Asbestos Reform Law, it gives victims who have received a diagnosis priority over other exposure victims when filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.
The law came about after the state saw that most cases were brought by claimants who had not yet experienced any symptoms of asbestos-related disease.
You still have the right to hire an asbestos lawyer and file for damages if you believe you have been exposed to asbestos but not yet experienced symptoms or received a diagnosis. However, those that already have a diagnosis will have their case pushed through faster.
Florida Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Cases
Under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq., plaintiffs must file an asbestos-related lawsuit according to the same statute of limitations as a personal injury lawsuit. It must be filed within four years of the diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease or four years from when the disease should have been reasonably discovered. Victims families have four years from the time of death of a loved one to file an asbestos-related wrongful death lawsuit.
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.