Although Rhode Island is a small state, it has had its share of devastating asbestos exposure. Most cases of exposure and resulting illness came from Rhode Island’s manufacturing and shipbuilding industries, which used asbestos in parts, machinery, equipment, products and more. Many of the victims are now fighting back by suing those responsible.
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.
Rhode Island Asbestos Facts
- Rhode Island ranks 44th in the nation for asbestos-related deaths.
- There were 1,038 deaths in the state between 1999 and 2013.
- During that period, 188 people died from mesothelioma and 100 from asbestosis.
- Providence County and the city of Providence had the most asbestos deaths.
Textiles and Manufacturing
Manufacturing has long been an important industry in Rhode Island. Textile manufacturing, in particular, was a big part of the state’s economy for years. It unfortunately contributed significantly to asbestos exposure:
- Asbestos was used on machinery and equipment for textile production.
- It was also used as a component in fabrics and clothing.
- Although textile production is no longer a major industry in Rhode Island, the residual effects of its asbestos use are still being felt.
- Some asbestos-related fatalities happened after former employees faced prolonged exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos in Shipyards
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.
Asbestos in Rhode Island Schools
Prior restrictions placed on asbestos in the 1970s, many 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 and even today staff members, teachers, and students are still at risk of exposure.
In 1991 a health hazard evaluation was conducted on the Rogers Williams Educational Building in Province. Results showed asbestos in the furnaces, pipes, boilers, and insulation of the building and only 50 percent contained. 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.
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
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.
- Rhode Island maintains an “Asbestos Control Program” that approves the certification of inspectors and contractors.
- Notification of any work to remove asbestos material must be sent to the state at least ten days in advance.
- 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.
- The state, through its Asbestos Control Program, is aggressive in locating and when necessary, removing the hazardous material from public property and schools.
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 death. 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 a radiation oncologist who provided testimony, Frank’s heart attack was caused by lung scarring and straining after 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 an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer treatment center, meaning top-notch doctors who specialize in cancer treatment are available.
Time is a critical factor in getting expert care. Once victims are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, they are usually already in the latest stages of 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.