Although Rhode Island is a small state with little asbestos exposure when compared to other states, there have still been a total of 1,038 asbestos-related deaths in the state. The majority of these fatalities came from Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry.
An array of manufacturing companies used asbestos in everything from parts, machinery, equipment, products and more. Other locations associated with asbestos in Rhode Island are chemical plants, power plants, and shipyards. As a result, Rhode Island ranks 44th in the nation for asbestos-related deaths.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for significant compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in Rhode Island, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
We offer assistance in all areas of Rhode Island, including:
Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Woonsocket, Coventry, Cumberland, North Providence, South Kingstown, Johnston, West Warwick, North Kingstown, Newport, Westerly, Bristol, Smithfield, Lincoln, Central Falls, Portsmouth, Barrington, Middletown, Burrillville, Narragansett, Tiverton, East Greenwich, North Smithfield, Warren, Scituate, Glocester, Hopkinton, Charlestown, Richmond, Exeter, West Greenwich, Jamestown, Foste, Little Compton, New Shoreham, and more.
Job Sites Associated with Asbestos in Rhode Island
Prior to the ban of asbestos in the late 70s by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most schools, including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges, were built using asbestos. Asbestos was a popular choice for its insulation and fire-resistant properties. However, because of its use in schools built prior to the ban, many staff members, teachers, and students may still be at risk today.
One of the most notable cases occurred in 1991 when a health hazard evaluation was conducted on the Rogers Williams Educational Building in Province. Results showed that close to 50% asbestos was contained in the furnaces, pipes, boilers, and insulation of the building. Staff members were already beginning to experience respiratory problems when the evaluation began in 1991.
Additionally, three Rhode Island schools, Sarah Dyer Barnes Elementary, Winsor Hill Elementary, and Brown Avenue Elementary, were all shut down for renovations after the Rhode Island State Health Department determined that the buildings were riddled with asbestos. Unfortunately, hundreds of children, teachers, and staff members ran the risk of asbestos exposure before the renovation.
Rhode Island is also home to two major shipyards: Newport Naval Yard and Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard. Shipyards are well-known for extensive asbestos use. Asbestos was typically used to build ships, repair parts, and provide insulation. The most hazardous period for asbestos exposure in shipyards was from the 1930s until the late 1970s.
Not only was asbestos used on machinery and equipment for textile production, but also in fabrics and clothing. Rhode Island once had a plethora of textile production companies with thousands of residents working in these facilities on a daily basis. Although textile production isn’t quite as big anymore in Rhode Island, during the early 1900s’ it led as one of the top textile production states. Unfortunately, some of the asbestos-related fatalities happened after former employees faced prolonged exposure to asbestos.
Additional Job Sites Associated with Asbestos in Rhode Island
- Smithfield Air National Guard
- Wickford Shipyard
- North Smithfield Sr. High School
- Artic 1st Congregational Church
- St. Bernard’s Convent
- Artic Christ & King Church
- Artic Industrial National Bank
- Artic Municipal Building
- Arctic Telephone & Telegraph
- Washburn Wire Company
- F. W. Bird and Son
- Peterson-Puritan Company
- Synthron Chemical
- Davisville Naval Station
- G W Reynolds and Company
- Meadowcrest Elementary School – Riverside
- Industrial Underground Bank
- Clayville Elementary School
Rhode Island Asbestos Facts and Statistics
- In 2005, a Rhode Island company, Johnston, was fined over $200,00 by the EPA for violating the Clean Air Act. The company was responsible for demolishing buildings that contained asbestos in an improper way.
- In 2007, a Rhode Island jury awarded a Pawtucket resident $2 million after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. The victims worked at Rhode Island’s General Ford Motor Company as a mechanic, where he was exposed to asbestos for over three decades.
Asbestos Laws in Rhode Island
Rhode Island maintains its asbestos removal programs through the state’s Department of Health, which also sets the standards for removal and certifications for those involved in the asbestos abatement process. Asbestos abatement consists of waste disposal, the handling of asbestos, and the removal of asbestos.
- Rhode Island maintains an “Asbestos Control Program” that approves the certification of inspectors and contractors. The state requires that any work to remove asbestos material must give the state ten days written notice prior. The notification also request that specifics to detail the removal and to give information in case of an emergency are mandatory information to include on the notification.
- Rhode Island also has strict regulations on how asbestos material is removed; for example, certain material must be removed via a HEPA vacuum or filter. Friable material must be removed by the “wetting” process, meaning to dampen the material and secured in an approved container. Disposal is then approved by the Office of Waste Management.
- The state, through its Asbestos Control Program, is aggressive in locating and when necessary, removing the hazardous material from public property and schools. It maintains labs to identify potential sites and hazards, and then works to eliminate the dangers in a timely manner.
Rhode Island’s First Asbestos Lawsuit
In 1983, Rhode Island had its first asbestos lawsuit when Georgette Brady, widow of former Navy submarine engineer, Frank Brady, filed a suit for wrongful. While working on submarines prior to his death in 1977, Frank was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis.
Frank developed mesothelioma lung cancer and eventually died at age 58 from a heart attack. According to radiation oncologist who provided testimony, Frank’s heart attack was caused by lung scarring and straining. Moreover, according to Dr. Susan Daum, a New Jersey occupational health specialist, Frank’s lung cancer was linked directly to asbestos exposure.
Four asbestos manufacturers were sued, including Raybestos Manhattan, Owen Corning Fiberglass, Keene Industries, and Celotex Co. After overwhelming evidence against the defendants, they settled out of our court for an undisclosed amount.
Getting Medical Help in Rhode Island
There are currently no cancer centers backed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Rhode Island. However, the Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center in the nearby state of Maine is a NCI-designated comprehensive cancer treatment center, meaning top notch doctors who specialize in cancer treatment are available.
Strive to seek treatment from physicians who have the experience and knowledge of such a rare disease as mesothelioma. Time is a critical factor. Once victims are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, they are usually already in latest stages of the cancer as the symptoms of mesothelioma typically lie dormant for up to 50 years.
A small clinic and/or a general practice physician may not have the kind of experience and/or medical equipment needed to give you the best possible options and mesothelioma treatments.
Rhode Island Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
R. I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-12 et seq. provides the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Rhode Island, and asbestos-related cases must follow the same statute as personal injury lawsuits. Plaintiffs must file within three years from the date of the victim’s death for a wrongful death lawsuit.
For asbestos-related illnesses, plaintiffs must file their lawsuit within three years from the time the disease was diagnosed or within three years from the date the illness should have been reasonably discovered.
Getting Legal Help in Rhode Island
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for 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. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.