Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that often develops as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. In combating this disease, the financial costs are often significant. This can create, along with the battle with the disease itself, a great deal of emotional distress for victims and their families.

Development of Mesothelioma

Individuals exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers may be at risk of developing mesothelioma. The risk of exposure was highest during the period between the 1940s and 1980s. However, it is still very possible to encounter asbestos today. There are three major types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lung’s protective lining, is the most common form, accounting for about three-quarters of all mesothelioma cases.

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

It has been estimated that the total cost of mesothelioma treatment can range between $150,000 to over $1 million. The cost varies for different individuals, depending on factors such as the age of the victim, the stage of the mesothelioma, and the overall health status of the victim. Costs for mesothelioma include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Physicians and other healthcare providers;

  2. Hospitalization, including potential surgery;

  3. Chemotherapy;

  4. Radiation treatment; or

  5. In some cases, airfare or driving expenses and lodging in order to travel to facilities that provide treatment.

Additionally, the two most common medications used in treatment, Alimta and Cisplatin, cost around $4,100 for one treatment cycle. Under most circumstances, more than one cycle will be required with no guarantee that it will result in a cure.

Earlier diagnosis increases the chance for survival, which, of course, is the best possible outcome. But, earlier diagnosis often leads to higher costs of treatment. This is particularly true of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma because the effects, historically, often did not become apparent until there was very little that could be done in terms of treatment. As the ability to diagnosis mesothelioma earlier becomes possible, the amount and range of treatment options increases, which increases costs.

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs:  Paying for Treatment

Some of the treatment for mesothelioma are covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If an individual does not have the costs fully covered by those sources, financial assistance information is available through social services units at hospitals, the Cancer Information Network, or the American Cancer Society. Needing financial help is common, particularly for individuals who are forced to stop working as a result of having mesothelioma. This is often why pursuing legal action against manufacturers or employers responsible for the exposure to asbestos is so critical to victims.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

Even today, new diagnoses of mesothelioma are made in victims who were exposed to asbestos fibers decades ago. Unfortunately, because of the potential long dormancy period of asbestos fibers in the lungs, this will likely continue for many more years. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers, contact the experienced mesothelioma law attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group.


Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Monday, June 22, 2015

W.R. Grace and Libby Mine

W.R. Grace and Libby mine located in Libby, Montana contained a deposits of asbestos that continues to receive attention from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. While the cleanup effort in Libby has been extensive, the dangers of the mine are present throughout the nation. This is because the vermiculite containing asbestos mined from Libby was used extensively in insulation materials shipped to all parts of the country.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that, when exposed to extremely high temperatures, expands from 8 to 30 times its original size. The result is a lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless product that was found very well suited for use in insulation placed in walls and attics. The source of the majority of asbestos sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990 was from the Libby mine. The asbestos that was used in insulation by W.R. Grace was sold under the brand name Zonolite. The Zonolite products included Zonolite Super 40, Zonolite Mono-Kote and Zonolite plaster.

In 1963, W.R. Grace took over operations of the mine. At that time, W.R. Grace was aware of the asbestos and that it caused health issues, but did not disclose this to workers or townspeople, and mining continued.

As a result of the widespread use of the asbestos mined from Libby, insulation containing asbestos ended up in homes across the country, where it may still remain today. Disturbing asbestos is dangerous because it releases microscopic fibers into the air which can then be breathed in. These fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before the harm they can cause is detected.

EPA Response to Libby

In 1999, the EPA began an extensive cleanup process of Libby. By 2010, the EPA had cleaned 1,460 business and residences, removing approximately 900,000 cubic yards of materials contaminated with asbestos. The EPA is currently operating a public comment period on its proposed plan for the continuing cleanup in Libby. This comment period ends July 8, 2015. This demonstrates the significant danger that the Libby mine and site continues to present, as 16 years after cleanup first began, the EPA continues to have concern over the site.

U.S. Department of Justice Response to W.R. Grace and Libby Mines

In 2005, W.R. Grace and seven W.R. Grace executives were indicted for knowingly endangering the Libby, Montana residents and concealing information of the health effects of the W.R. Grace mining operations. The criminal case lingered in the court system with pretrial proceedings reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. By 2009, W.R. Grace had paid millions in medical bills to Libby residents, but was acquitted of charges it knowingly harmed the people of Libby and participated in any cover-up.

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma and other serious health conditions. If you believe you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your legal options, contact us today. The Throneberry Law Group provides compassionate legal representation across the country to victims of asbestos exposure.


W.R. Grace and Libby Mine

Monday, June 15, 2015

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Carpenters Exposed to Asbestos

For much of the twentieth century, carpenters played an integral part in the development of the United States. These individuals helped construct many of the homes and buildings that still stand and are used today. Unfortunately, during much of this period, carpenters were exposed to dangerous microscopic asbestos fibers. This exposure can lead to the development of mesothelioma or other serious asbestos-related diseases.

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was used in all kinds of construction materials up until the 1980s. Unfortunately, carpentry work was extremely prevalent during the period from the 1940s into the 1980s. As part of the “Baby Boom” following World War II, carpenters were very busy constructing homes and buildings across the country. Before metal studs existed for use in the framing of buildings, carpenters were responsible for this process. As a result, carpenters were exposed to large amounts of asbestos fibers.

Though these carpenters were most widely associated with working with wood, they were also working with and around all kinds of other construction materials that contained asbestos. This includes materials such as:

  • Wallboard, plaster, and joint compounds

  • Brick mortar

  • Roof shingles

  • Insulation for walls and attics

  • Plumbing materials

  • Ceiling and flooring

  • Electrical wiring

  • Paints and stains

In addition, carpenters also handled asbestos sheets, often cutting them into appropriate sizes for various applications. The process of cutting these sheets not only released fibers into the air that the carpenters breathed in, it also caused them to be covered in asbestos dust, which exposed their family members and other individuals to asbestos fibers that these carpenters came into contact with.

There are generally two types of carpenters that work in the construction of buildings. A “rough” carpenter is responsible for the large framing of the house or building. These types of carpenters were often at a higher risk of exposure to asbestos fibers due to the work they were completing and the work of others around them that occurred while framing was being completed. Another type of carpenter is known as a “finish” carpenter. These carpenters are considered more highly skilled because their work often requires greater precision. Finish carpenters are responsible for creating furniture and cabinetry. Their risk of asbestos exposure is considered less than that of rough carpenters.

Although asbestos use ended in the 1980s, it is still possible today for carpenters to be exposed to asbestos fibers through remodeling or renovation projects. If it is thought that materials encountered during a remodeling or renovation project contain asbestos, a professional in asbestos removal should be contacted before the carpenter begins or continues work.

Carpenters who were harmed due to exposure to asbestos fibers can file claims against the companies that manufactured or supplied the products that contained asbestos. Additionally, carpenters can file lawsuits against employers that knew of the dangers of asbestos exposure and did not warn or protect workers.

Compassionate Help

The damage that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause is often devastating. If you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your potential legal options, speak with an attorney experienced in mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide understanding and expertise in helping victims of exposure to asbestos fibers.

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Monday, June 1, 2015

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

The risk of exposure to asbestos fibers is often associated with individuals who worked with or around products that contained asbestos. However, people who come in contact with workers who are exposed to asbestos fibers are also at risk of the dangers of asbestos. These dangers include the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

Why is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos was used in many products up until the 1980’s, when the dangers of it were universally recognized. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is disturbed and releases microscopic fibers into the air. Once these fibers are released into the air, they can be breathed in and may remain in the lungs. The effects of asbestos fiber exposure may not become apparent for many years or even decades.

How Second-hand Asbestos Exposure Occurs

Second-hand asbestos exposure involves exposure to the asbestos fibers without actually working with the material that contains asbestos. The victims of second-hand exposure are often family members of individuals returning home from work after encountering asbestos as a result of their employment. These workers are unaware that they may be carrying fibers that could be dangerous to their families.

After arriving home from work, anyone else living at the house can sustain considerable exposure to asbestos fibers. Washing the clothing worn by the person who works with asbestos poses a risk. Often, clothes are “shaken off” before washing. While this action helps to shake off dust or other visible particles before washing, it also creates more danger by disrupting and releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Second-hand exposure can also occur as a result of an individual living in close proximity to a mine or a company that uses products containing asbestos. As an example, the activities of the W.R. Grace Vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana gave rise to several successful lawsuits. While the mine closed in 1991, it is important to note that asbestos fibers may remain in a person’s body for years or even decades before manifesting its dangerous effects. As a result, someone exposed to asbestos fibers prior to the plant closing may not have shown signs of health issues as a result of that exposure yet.

Today, we know that many employers actually had some awareness of the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, those employers often did not take proper precautions, such as forcing employees to shower or change their clothes before going home. As a result, the families of workers exposed to asbestos fibers were also exposed. This second-hand asbestos exposure may allow victims to obtain compensation for medical expenses and suffering.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

If you have been harmed by second-hand asbestos exposure and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is possible that you can recover needed compensation to combat your condition. The Throneberry Law Group has the experience and expertise to help you explore your legal options in recovering the resources you need to fight asbestos-related diseases. For more information, contact us today.



Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure