Though most industries stopped using asbestos in the 1970s, and laws and regulations have been passed to reduce exposure, South Carolinians and other Americans are still suffering and dying from asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one is in this situation, contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm to speak with a Walterboro asbestos exposure attorney right away. Your attorney will determine whose negligence caused your exposure and illness, and fight to secure compensation and justice. Our Walterboro personal injury lawyers are ready to help fight for you and your recovery.
Asbestos-Related Laws and Regulations
The 1970 Clean Air Act categorized asbestos as a dangerous air pollutant, giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) purview to regulate its use and disposal methods. Additional amendments to the act were passed in subsequent years, issuing more specific regulations. In 1972, the passing of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) banned asbestos use in certain products.
In 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed, putting strict regulations on asbestos use and disposal. That same year, medical device amendments were passed, under which the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could ban the use of filters containing asbestos in the pharmaceutical industry. The EPA documents additional regulations issued over the years to protect schools, water, and other specific areas.
Though heavily regulated, there is no comprehensive ban on asbestos in the United States as there is in other countries.
The mining, milling, manufacturing, shipbuilding, and construction industries are commonly associated with asbestos-exposure hazards. The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has established regulations to limit workers’ exposure. However, exposure continues through projects involving old buildings, structures, or ships.
Non-construction workers who carry out office or other jobs in older buildings may also be unknowingly exposed to asbestos hidden behind ceiling tiles or covered pipes.
Frighteningly, asbestos has been detected, in very recent years, in everyday products, including children’s toys. The company Johnson & Johnson has faced lawsuits for asbestos contamination in some of its talc-based powders, including baby powders.
The FDA issued warnings about makeup sold by Claire’s, warning consumers to avoid a variety of products stocked and sold in the retailer’s stores. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) conducted a study whose findings showed several major brands of crayons, and certain binders, dry-erase markers, and water bottles contained asbestos.
How Asbestos Affects Health
Asbestos causes devastating health problems, and asbestos-related diseases and cancers typically lead to death.
- Asbestosis develops from breathing in asbestos fibers. This process causes lung scarring, making breathing difficult. The condition is typically seen in those who have had high levels of asbestos exposure for a long time.
- Pleural Disease is a thickening in the membrane surrounding the chest cavity. Effects can also include fluid buildup around the lungs. The condition can make breathing difficult and lung function less efficient.
- Lung cancer, a malignant tumor, attacks and block the lungs’ air pathways.
- Mesothelioma is cancer of the membranes covering the chest and abdominal cavities and other internal organs.
Sadly, ever-growing data shows links between asbestos exposure and other cancers:
From 1999 to 2017, there were 3,801 asbestos-related deaths in the state of South Carolina. Of those deaths, 512 were caused by asbestosis, 663 by mesothelioma, and 2,652 by non-mesothelioma lung cancers. Colleton County saw 40 deaths in that timeframe, and nearby Charleston County saw 550.
Despite increased federal regulations and rules established by OSHA, a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows thousands still die every year from malignant mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with the inhalation of even small amounts of asbestos fibers. From 1999 to 2015, there were 45,221 deaths caused by mesothelioma in the United States.
The Mayo Clinic explains it usually takes 10 to 40 years from the initial exposure for asbestos-related diseases to develop. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, a dry cough, chest pain or chest tightness, crackling sounds in the lungs upon inhalation, and a widening and rounding of fingertips and toes.
How an Asbestos Exposure Attorney in Walterboro Can Help You Get Justice and Compensation
If you are suffering from an asbestos-related illness or if your loved one has died from such an illness, an asbestos exposure attorney in Walterboro can help you file a claim to collect a financial settlement.
South Carolina has a statute of limitations for filing asbestos lawsuits, so consult with a Walterboro asbestos exposure lawyer from Shelly Leeke Law Firm as soon as possible after your diagnosis to ensure you file within that deadline. Your lawyer will investigate your situation, determine the party responsible for your condition, and file accordingly. After filing, your lawyer will:
- Gather, organize, and submit thorough evidence to support your case. This evidence will come from a variety of sources, including where and how your exposure occurred, all medical reports, your prognosis, and the losses you have suffered because of your illness
- Negotiate a fair settlement and hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Since at-fault parties do not want to make large payouts, they will fight to avoid blame or will offer you a low settlement. Your knowledgeable asbestos exposure lawyer in Walterboro will not let these parties avoid culpability and deny you justice
- Represent you at all proceedings should your case go to trial
What an Asbestos-Exposure Settlement Can Cover
Asbestos exposure can steal your health, income, life, and your household’s financial security. A skilled asbestos exposure lawyer in Waterboro will seek a substantial settlement to mitigate those losses. Settlement amounts vary from case to case, but you can expect your lawyer to pursue compensation for:
- All medical expenses related to your disease, including future care
- Income loss if your condition has caused you to miss days and wages, and future earnings if you cannot return to work
- Emotional duress, pain, and suffering your condition has brought upon you and your loved ones
If your loved one has died from an asbestos-related illness, your lawyer can pursue a wrongful death claim to recover funeral and medical costs, your loved one’s future earnings, and to acknowledge the emotional losses endured.
Shelly Leeke Is Here for You
You can contact a Walterboro asbestos exposure lawyer from Shelly Leeke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so do not wait another minute to schedule your free consultation. You and your household deserve justice and financial compensation for the suffering and financial distress asbestos exposure has caused. From start to finish, your lawyer will manage your case with skill, insight, and compassion.