The state of Hawaii has a history of widespread asbestos use. From commercial establishments, military bases, and public buildings, asbestos was used in nearly every building that was constructed prior to the 1980s. As a result, some of those who have resided in Hawaii their entire lives and others who worked or served in the military in the early and mid-1900s are now dealing with mesothelioma diagnoses.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that typically attacks either the lungs or the abdomen. It develops as a direct result of asbestos exposure—whether that exposure involved inhaling or ingesting the asbestos particles. While the majority of patients faced long-term asbestos exposure prior to receiving their cancer diagnoses, this is not always the case. Any amount of asbestos exposure has the potential to be dangerous.
If you lived or worked in Pearl Harbor, let’s take a look at where you could have been exposed to asbestos and what you can do in the event you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Asbestos Use at Pearl Harbor
As mentioned, a significant number of buildings, including schools and government buildings, were constructed with asbestos-containing materials. This means that teachers, children, and government officials were likely exposed to high levels of asbestos for years. As those who were in those locations age, it’s possible they could begin to develop mesothelioma because of their exposure.
Locations built with asbestos pose a potential risk to anyone that enters them—particularly those that work there. When asbestos particles from the ceiling, floor, tiles, or joint compounds are disturbed, anyone nearby is at risk of absorbing the particles.
In addition to the materials used to construct many of the buildings in Pearl Harbor, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry determined the Honolulu vermiculite processing plant received asbestos-contaminated vermiculite from Libby, Montana. This put employees and residents in the area at risk of asbestos exposure for decades.
Even though the Environmental Protection Agency cleaned the area up, it doesn’t change the fact that people were exposed to toxic levels of asbestos for years. Those individuals are still being asked to monitor their health for signs of cancer or other asbestos-related illnesses like lung cancer and asbestosis.
In addition to asbestos in buildings and at the vermiculite processing plan, the toxic material was also found at power plants in the area. Many power plants used asbestos-containing materials because of their insulation abilities, which protected equipment and machinery from heat and electricity. Workers who used or repaired the equipment were likely exposed to asbestos.
Pearl Harbor Veterans and Mesothelioma
The Pearl Harbor Shipyard, stationed close to Honolulu, has a history of extensive asbestos exposure to Navy veterans. This is because the shipyard relied on asbestos to build its ships. It’s estimated that more than 250 different types of asbestos-containing products were used at the shipyard, including insulation, cement, sprays, construction materials, and more.
While Navy veterans were most at risk of asbestos exposure, other branches of the military could also have been exposed. Army and Marine Corps veterans could have been exposed in barracks or armored vehicles. For those in the Coast Guard, asbestos could be found inside ships and boiler rooms. Air Force veterans could have been exposed at bases or while in airplanes or jets.
If you served in the U.S. military at the Pearl Harbor Shipyard and have since been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. You may be able to file a claim against the Department of Veterans Affairs. If that’s not the case or you’re looking to pursue additional legal action, we can investigate your situation to determine which company to hold accountable for your asbestos exposure.
Contact Frost Law Firm, PC
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you’ve lived or worked in Pearl Harbor, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A cancer diagnosis can completely upend a person’s life and have a lasting impact on their family. At Frost Law Firm, PC, we believe victims of asbestos exposure deserve strong legal representation and the chance to stand up for themselves and their rights.
Depending on your situation, you may have a number of different legal options when it comes to actually filing a claim to seek a monetary award. We will explain your options to you and ensure you understand how best to proceed to secure your future and the future of your family. To learn more, contact us today.