Maine is one of the many New England states with a long history in the shipbuilding and paper industries. For decades, Maine has also been associated with industrial use of asbestos in these particular industries. As a result, there has many incidences related to health problems such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. A dedicated Maine mesothelioma lawyer can assist families in getting the help they need and compensation they deserve.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, it’s important to note that you may qualify for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your Maine, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
Keep in mind that we are happy to offer assistance to residents of all Maine cities and towns, including:
Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn, Biddeford, Sanford, Brunswick, Scarborough, Saco, Augusta, Westbrook, Windham, Gorham, Waterville, York, Falmouth, Kennebunk, Orono, Standish, Wells, Kittery, Presque Isle, Brewer, Cape Elizabeth, Lisbon, Topsham, Old Orchard Beach, Skowhegan, Yarmouth, Bath, Buxton, Freeport, Caribou, Ellsworth, Gray, Winslow, Old Town, Waterboro and Farmington, Berwick, Cumberland, Hampden, South Berwick, Rockland, Fairfield, Belfast, Eliot and Oakland, Houlton, Winthrop, Lebanon, Rumford, Turner, Gardiner, New Gloucester, Hermon, Poland, Bar Harbo,r Bridgton, Paris, Lincoln Town, Waldoboro, Norway, Bucksport, Sabattus, Camden, Jay, Madison, Harpswell, Warren, North Berwick, Glenburn, Millinocket, Raymond, Lyman, Greene, Vassalboro, Hollis, China, Sidney, Pittsfield, Dover-Foxcroft, Wilton, Oxford, Monmouth, Fort Kent, Arundel, Madawaska, Naples, Dexter, Durham, Winterport, Casco, Orrington, Limington, Wiscasset, Litchfield, North Yarmouth, Kennebunkport, Fort Fairfield, Clinton, and more.
Asbestos at Maine Jobs
Maine was first settled by European colonists in the 1600s, who found the region ideal for shipbuilding, fishing, and forestry. These settlers and their descendants harvested trees from Maine’s vast forestland to make ships, turn tree pulp into paper, and manufacture lumber products. Unfortunately, all these industries started using asbestos in the 1800s in machinery to prevent corrosion and resist high temperatures without realizing that workers were exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers. As a result, many individuals who worked in Maine shipyards, paper mills, and lumber yards have suffered from various asbestos-related diseases, ranging from asbestosis to malignant mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer.
Because the Pine Tree State is mostly rural and sparsely populated, it is ranked 34th in the nation for asbestos-related deaths. Per U.S. government statistics cited by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2004, between 376 and 471 Maine residents died of asbestos-related diseases. Of these, between 168 to 263 died of malignant mesothelioma.
Though it is probable that some of these deaths occurred in Maine schools, public buildings, or even private residences, most of them were caused by asbestos exposure in job sites.
Maine has 200 miles of coastline adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. This makes the state an ideal location for the shipbuilding and fishing industries. Since Europeans first settled the region in the late 17th Century, coastal cities such as Bath, Portland, and Kittery have been home for many shipyards and fishing fleets. Starting in the late 19th Century, many industries started using asbestos in various ways to protect machinery, manufacturing installations, and personnel from the effects of fire, high temperatures, and corrosion. Asbestos was added as insulation in foundries, steam turbines, and even small parts as gaskets to reduce heat caused by either flames or friction.
Unfortunately, the fibrous nature of the mineral makes it easy for asbestos to get into the air, where it can be easily inhaled or swallowed. For many decades, many industries unwittingly exposed millions of Americans to the health hazards caused by exposure to asbestos in the belief that the materials were mostly beneficial. The peak period of asbestos use in the U.S. started in the 1930s and continued up to the early 1970s. By 1973, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its first findings that asbestos was a toxic carcinogen which caused lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Environmental Hazards in Maine
Although asbestos was never mined in Maine, many people still suffered from malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, particularly in the Western portion of the states. Scientists speculate this may be because the bordering areas of Canada were mined frequently, resulting in airborne asbestos fibers traveling into Maine. However, even though asbestos wasn’t mined in the state, there are a few sparse locations containing naturally-occurring asbestos. Most locations are along the coastlines. One area containing asbestos is on the shores of Chain Lakes, which is situated close to Highway SR 27. Another area lies within the coastline close to Blue Bay.
Maine and the Shipbuilding Industry
In Maine, the largest impact of asbestos was felt by the shipbuilding industry. By 1941, the year of U.S. entry into World War II, it was standard procedure to insulate almost every part of a ship with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Thus, every ship made for the civilian economy or the U.S. military contained many tons of asbestos within its hull and superstructure. Workers in shipyards such as the Bath Iron Works in Bath or the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery built ships, submarines, and landing craft of all types and sizes during the war and after, but thousands of them developed asbestosis, lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma due to long term exposure to asbestos.
Maine Shipyards Known to Have Had Asbestos Exposure Issues
- Bath Iron Works Shipyard (Bath)
- Portsmouth Naval Shipyard ( Kittery)
- Boothbay Harbor Shipyard; Sample’s Shipyard ( Boothbay Harbor)
Other Companies Associated with Asbestos in Maine:
- Eastern Paper
- Hearst Paper Division
- Pejepscot Paper Company
- Champion Paper
- Maine Seaboard Paper Company
- St. Regis Paper Company
- Great Northern Paper Mill
- International Paper Company
- Jay Paper Mill
- Eastern Fine Paper and Pulp
- Katahdin Pulp and Paper Company
- Lincoln Pulp & Paper
- International Paper Company
- Great Northern Paper Company
- Kennebec River Pulp & Paper Company
- Madison Paper Corporation
- Northern Paper Company
- Great Northern Paper Company
- Oxford Paper Company
- Boise Cascade Paper Mill
- Mead Paper Group
- Northern Paper
- Sappi Fine Paper
- Scott Paper Company
- Georgia Pacific Paper Mill
- St. Croix Paper Company
- Androscoggin Mill
- Brunswick Electric Light and Power Company
- Central Maine Power Company
- Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
- W.F Wyman Power Station
- Boardman Hall (University of Maine)
- Bowdoin College
- Mount Blue High School
- Pownal State School
- Colby College
- Mt. Mercy Academy
- Dow Air Force Base
- Brunswick Naval Air Station
- Loring Air Force Base
Asbestos Statistics in Maine
- A total of 387 fatalities occurred from 1980-2000, all due to asbestos-related diseases.
- The majority of these fatalities were caused by asbestosis.
- Between 1999-2005, there were 173 asbestos-related fatalities.
- Maine is the 30th in the nation for the most mesothelioma deaths.
- Sagadahoc County has the highest amount of asbestos-related deaths.
Although Maine ranks 30th in the nation for asbestos-related fatalities, a study performed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health determined that the state leads in the most deaths per capita. Maine’s asbestos-related death rate is 27.5 per million population, putting it at the #1 spot in the United States for the most deaths per capita. The study also states that asbestos exposure primarily came from working in businesses such as paper mills, chemical factories, and shipyards. In fact, a recent study performed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) places people who worked in shipyards at the highest risk for developing asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos Laws in Maine
Under Title 38, Chapter 12-A of the Maine Revised Statutes, several asbestos laws and regulations have been written that must be adhered at all times while working around asbestos in Maine. The majority of the asbestos laws in Maine follow NESHAP and OSHA regulations as well as state-mandated rules that are typically found in most other states as well, including:
- Mandatory licensing and certifications for all individuals who are renovating, repairing, and/or demolitioning a building that contains asbestos.
- Specific landfills in which asbestos can be disposed at
- Stringent rules regarding the regular maintenance, recording, and upkeep of schools that were built with asbestos-containing materials
- Acceptable forms of work practice while working around asbestos, such as the proper protective clothing and gear.
- Mandated ways of disposing of asbestos in the proper way, handled by the state’s Waste Management Department
- Specific asbestos management regulations as defined in Chapter 425 of the Maine Waste Management Rules.
- Off Site OSHA asbestos rules and regulations that must be followed at all times.
For more in-depth, detailed information and any questions or concerns regarding asbestos in Maine, contact the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Waste Management Department, or that Asbestos Hazards Prevention Program’s staff members at 207-287-2651.
Medical Help in Maine
Dealing with the symptoms of mesothelioma and other issues is never an easy task for victims. That’s why it’s imperative to find a physician that specializes in asbestos-related diseases. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) makes this process easier by appointing worthy care centers and hospitals as NCI-designated facilities. An NCI-designation means that the care center has been recognized for its superior physicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals who have in-depth knowledge and experience dealing with cancer.
The Maine Medical Care Institute (MMCI) is a NCI-designated care center with some of the most comprehensive technology and resources for mesothelioma patients. MMCI also received a $3.5 million grant from NCI in order to help physicians and healthcare professionals research, develop new programs, and help provide treatment to cancer patients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
As aforementioned, it’s extremely important to get medical help from physicians who have in-depth knowledge of mesothelioma, mesothelioma treatments, and other asbestos-related disease as this this type of cancer is still considered rare in the medical world.
Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Lawsuits in Maine
Although Maine follows a strict guideline when it comes to filing asbestos-related lawsuits, the time span allotted is more generous when compared to other states. Per the state’s statute of limitations, a plaintiff must file the lawsuit within six years of diagnosis. For wrongful death lawsuits, the plaintiff must file within two years of the victim’s death.
Legal Help in Maine
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for significant compensation. 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.