Asbestos Exposure in Beaver County, PA

Asbestos Exposure in Beaver County, PA

The number of deaths from malignant mesothelioma is very high in Pennsylvania. According to the CDC and the NIOSH Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance System statistics, the state ranks third out of all the states and District of Columbia for the number of asbestos cases. Mesothelioma is a cancer that grows in the mesothelium, a thin tissue that lines most of the body’s organs. This disease spreads aggressively and does not have a cure. Why were asbestos exposure cases so high in Beaver County, Pennsylvania?

Naturally Occurring Asbestos Deposits in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has several naturally occurring asbestos mines and deposits. However, the most significant source of asbestos was from vermiculite ore mined in Libby, Montana, and processed in New Castle and Ambler, Pennsylvania. Ambler has received the tragic nickname of the “Asbestos Capital of the World.” People from surrounding cities such as Beaver, came to work in New Castle and Ambler’s processing plants.

Several industries are primarily responsible for asbestos exposure in Pennsylvania:

  • Vermiculite Mining
  • Steel Mills
  • Locomotive Building
  • Shipyards

Babcock & Wilcox Steel Tubular Products Division in Beaver Falls
Babcock & Wilcox expanded its operations into Beaver County in 1904. Thousands of residents worked at the plants manufacturing different equipment types intended to withstand or contain extreme temperatures. Roughly 80percent of Beaver County’s workforce was invested in steel production.

Equipment was often cared for with asbestos materials because asbestos was fire retardant. The company did not directly manufacture asbestos products, but it used asbestos products manufactured by other companies. Babcock & Wilcox used asbestos-containing insulation, heat seals, gaskets, rope packing, block, and millboard. Power generation equipment, furnaces, utility boilers, water-tube marine boilers, and other high-temperature refractory equipment used asbestos-containing products.

Employees that assembled and installed asbestos products on boilers and other equipment faced high levels of asbestos exposure. Additionally, the end-users of equipment were exposed during maintenance, repair, and removal. Many of these workers later developed asbestos-related diseases, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. They filed lawsuits against Babcock & Wilcox, seeking compensation to cover medical bills and lost wages. Mounting cases eventually caused the company to file for bankruptcy and establish a trust fund to handle future claims.

 

What Sources of Compensation Are Available for Asbestos Injury or Wrongful Death?

Asbestos Trust Funds
The Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Trust was formed in 2006 due to the bankruptcy of The Babcock & Wilcox Company, Diamond Power International, Inc., Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., Inc., and American, Inc.

The trust is organized to pay all valid asbestos personal injury claims against these defendants and certain related protected parties under the Trust Distribution Procedures approved by the bankruptcy court.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a person passes away from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, that person’s estate has an option to file a lawsuit for wrongful death against the former employer or the company that produced or sold the asbestos-containing products responsible for the asbestos exposure.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is time-sensitive. There is a statute of limitations within which to file a wrongful death claim in each state. You should consider consulting an attorney in your state to understand the effect of the statute of limitations on a potential claim.

At Goldberg, Persky and White P.C., we can help you file a wrongful death claim before the time limit expires. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can provide family compensation and financial assistance to help pay medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. Financial assistance can help families focus on the moments that matter most.

Sources
Snedden Jeffrey, “Histories & Mysteries: The march of progress documented through pages of local newspapers” Ellwood City Ledger (2020). [Link]
Md Demers Raymond Y., Mph Neale Anne Victoria Neale, Mph Robins Thomas Robins, Mph Herman Sandra C., “Asbestos-related pulmonary disease in boilermakers” (1990). [Link]
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