Pennsylvania has long been an important state for asbestos exposure and litigation. Many people in the state have been left with life-threatening illnesses because of asbestos. Most of these individuals were exposed to asbestos directly at job sites that used the toxic mineral for its affordability and resistance to heat and fire. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help people get the compensation they’re rightfully entitled to for being negligently exposed to asbestos.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in Pennsylvania, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a mesothelioma or asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
We offer help to asbestos victims and their families in every city in Pennsylvania, including:
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Upper Darby, Scranton, Bensalem, Lancaster,Lower Merion, Bethlehem, Abington, Bristol Township, Millcreek Township, Harrisburg, Haverford, Lower Paxton, Altoona, Middletown Township, York City, Hempfield Township, Penn Hills, State College, Wilkes, Barre, Northampton Township, Manheim Township, Cheltenham, Norristown, Falls Township, Chester,Mount Lebanon, Warminster, Lower Makefield, Bethel Park, Radnor, Lower Macungie, Ross Township, Ridley, North Huntingdon, Tredyffrin, Williamsport, Cranberry Township, McCandless, Shaler, Upper Merion, Monroeville, Hampden, York Township, Plum Borough, Spring Township, Whitehall Township, Easton, Springettsbury, Horsham, Upper Dublin, Exeter Township, Lower Providence, Lebanon, Montgomery Township, Hazleton, Moon, Derry Township, Susquehanna Township, Springfield Township, Upper Moreland, Swatara Township, Bethlehem Township, East Hempfield, Warrington Township, Marple, New Castle,West Goshen, Unity, Pottstown, Upper Providence Township, Peters Township, Upper Macungie, Dover Township, East Pennsboro, Palmer, Johnstown, Coolbaugh, Chambersburg, West Mifflin, Buckingham Township, Murrysville, Manor Township, Penn Township, Baldwin Borough, Muhlenberg, McKeesport, Springfield Township, Bethlehem, Newtown Township, South Whitehall, Upper St. Clair, Stroud, Whitpain, Lower Southampton, West Manchester, and more.
Pennsylvania: A History of Asbestos
Pennsylvania has a long history as an industrialized state. Starting in 1716 with a single forge, the iron industry became the foundation of the state’s metalworking business. For 124 years, the state’s economy depended heavily on iron mining and processing.
In the 1840s, the economy became more diversified. Factories, railroads, and textile mills contributed to the industrialization of Pennsylvania, making the state one of the biggest economic powerhouses in the pre-Civil War U.S. From 1861 until the mid-20th Century, however, Pennsylvania’s economic growth exacted a heavy toll on thousands of workers who were exposed to asbestos, an important mineral in many industries.
Pennsylvania is more often associated with coal mining, but a number of asbestos mines once operated in the southeastern part of the state. Before asbestos mining in the U.S. stopped, large amounts of amphibole asbestos were extracted from these mines, impacting workers and nearby residents.
Amphibole asbestos produces a subtype known as crocidolite, which is one of the most most hazardous varieties of asbestos. Though these mines are now idle, mining activity conducted there released asbestos dust into the environment where it could get into air, soil, and water.
Pennsylvania also has a large shipbuilding and shipping industry. Several major shipyards operate in the state near the Delaware estuary or on Lake Erie, including Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Key Highway Shipyard, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Penn Shipbuilding, and Sun Shipbuilding.
Asbestos mined in the state and imported from other parts of the U.S. were used not only in the yards’ facilities but also as fire-resistant insulation in the many ships built there. It was heavily used in most components of ships for decades before asbestos was identified as a hazardous material and carcinogen.
Materials containing asbestos are present in every area of vessels built at the peak period of its widespread use. Hulls, engineering spaces, pipes, gaskets, boilers, insulation, and electrical wiring all have significant amounts of asbestos. Shipyard workers who cleaned or repaired older ships may have stirred the asbestos fibers into the air and inhaled them.
In addition to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where asbestos was used on ships, there are three active military bases in the state. The Army operates the Tobyhanna Army Depot and Carlisle Barracks, and the Navy uses the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mechanicsburg.
The Joint Reserve Base (JRB) at Willow Grove was originally designated as a Naval Air Station when it opened in 1926. However, it was redesignated as a multi-service joint base in 1994 and closed in 2005. These facilities were active when asbestos materials were used extensively by the military and many people stationed there were at risk of exposure to asbestos fibers.
Plants and Factories
Steel plants, power generation facilities and other factories used large amounts of asbestos because it adds tensile strength to construction materials, insulates against heat and protects against fire. Asbestos contamination has been found and documented at Alcoa Aluminum, Bethlehem Steel, Electralloy, Ling-Temco Vought (LTV) and U.S. Steel (USX).
Pennsylvania Asbestos Statistics
Because materials containing asbestos were so widely used in Pennsylvania, exposure was widespread and 1,675 people died of mesothelioma in the state between 1999 and 2008. An additional 322 individuals died of other asbestos illnesses during the same period. Statistics published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show that Pennsylvania’s malignant mesothelioma death rate was 20.8 per 1 million residents.
Pennsylvania’s Asbestos Laws
The state legislature responded to the dangers from asbestos fibers by passing the Pennsylvania Asbestos Occupations Accreditation Act of 1990. This law gives the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the task of regulating the removal, collection, and disposal of ACMs from public and commercial buildings. The DEP doesn’t regulate handling and removal of asbestos in individual homes. However, apartments with more than five units do fall under DEP’s jurisdiction.
The state’s Department of Labor and Industry enforces the Pennsylvania Asbestos Occupations Accreditation and Certification Act. The act requires any person planning to do an asbestos reduction project to tell the department five days before beginning. This notification must include a written project plan as well as the number of workers involved.
Pennsylvania’s asbestos abatement rules also follow federal guidelines as set by the EPA and are intended to protect the public from exposure to large amounts of asbestos fibers. EPA regulations require any person planning to remove and dispose of asbestos to notify the agency 10 days in advance of any work in a public or commercial building.
The EPA guidelines also require that only certified asbestos workers handle asbestos materials, perform inspections, or supervise other workers. Pennsylvania bans non-certified individuals from any jobs involving asbestos, including workers, supervisors, project designers, inspectors, planners and contractors who have not undergone training on asbestos abatement.
For residents of private homes and small apartment buildings there are separate rules for removing asbestos. If materials containing asbestos are suspected of being in a house or single apartment, the owner is urged to have the residence inspected by a certified asbestos inspector.
Asbestos in a residential home is usually not dangerous if it is left undisturbed. However, even undisturbed asbestos materials decay and therefore must be constantly evaluated. Homeowners should not cut, rip, or sand any materials containing asbestos in their property. These actions can stir up asbestos fibers into the air.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501 et seq. is the personal injury statute for the state of Pennsylvania. If you are filing a mesothelioma or asbestos lawsuit, you must follow the personal injury statute of limitations, which requires that the case be filed within two years of the discovery of the asbestos-related illness. Asbestos-related wrongful death lawsuits follow the same statute and need to be filed within two years of the victim’s death.
Pennsylvania Asbestos Legal Assistance
Keep in mind that if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to significant compensation. 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. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.