Monday, December 28, 2015

Lockheed and Shipyard 2

Lockheed and Shipyard 2:  Designated as a Superfund site, Shipyard 2 as it came to be known, is an area that contributed to extensive asbestos exposure. Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company owned and operated the shipyard from 1959 to 1987. During that time, Lockheed produced several important ships. Unfortunately, this also led to increased exposure to asbestos for many workers.


Lockheed and Shipyard 2:  History of Site


Shipyard 2 is located on Harbor Island on the Duwamish River in Seattle, Washington. At the time Lockheed purchased the site in 1959, there were already signs of asbestos contamination and that shipyard workers were suffering from long-term health consequences. A 1945 report from the Shipyard Safety Conference was known by then-owners Puget Sound Bridge and Dredge Company. This report detailed the health risk of asbestos exposure to shipyard workers. Even with this knowledge, asbestos use was continued as an insulator and mixing agent at the shipyard. Lockheed executives would later admit that the information within this report was never shared with workers.


Shipyard activities first began during World War II. During Lockheed’s ownership of the site, the company held several defense contracts. Throughout the 1960s, Lockheed produced Knox class frigates and seven platform dock ships, including the USS Denver and the USS Juneau. Additionally, workers at Shipyard 2 built Coast Guard icebreakers and submarine tenders in the 1970s. The activities of Lockheed at Shipyard 2 included ship berthing, repair, maintenance, and construction.


Following Lockheed’s discontinuance of operations in 1987, Shipyard 2 sat idle until the following year when the Port Authority of Seattle purchased it. Left behind was discarded asbestos and other potentially chemical contaminants. In March 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added Shipyard 2 to the Superfund National Priorities List and named the site “Lockheed West Seattle.” Lockheed (which merged with Martin Marietta in 1994, becoming Lockheed-Martin) continues to promise to fund studies and cleanup of the site. A work plan was proposed in 2010 and cleanup began in 2011. As of August 2013, the estimated cost of cleanup was $48.1 million.


Asbestos Danger


Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is damaged or disturbed, which releases microscopic fibers into the air. Breathing those fibers into the lungs, particularly over a long period of time, can lead to the development of serious health issues such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos was extensively used during much of the twentieth century because it provided strength and fire-resistance to products. For these reasons, asbestos was often used in the production of ships, including ships built for the U.S. Navy. Asbestos was also extensively used in the construction of commercial, residential, and industrial buildings.


Compassionate Help


Exposure to asbestos can lead to significant health complications, which often result in large medical costs. In some cases, it may be possible to recover damage awards against those responsible for your exposure. For more information related to asbestos-related claims, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand how difficult it is for victims of asbestos exposure and would be proud to use our knowledge to help.


 



Lockheed and Shipyard 2

Friday, December 18, 2015

National Gypsum Company

The National Gypsum Company (NGC) made extensive use of asbestos in its products beginning with its founding in 1925 and not ending until 1970. This over four decades of use caused widespread exposure to asbestos fibers that eventually led to many lawsuits being filed against NGC. This would lead to the company filing for bankruptcy and forming an asbestos settlement trust fund.


History of NGC


NGC is still in business today, with its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. NGC was originally formed to produce light, flexible wallboard products. The company began including a gold bond certificate with its products promising to pay $5,000 to anyone who could prove another company’s wallboard was lighter and stronger. This marketing campaign became so successful NGC acquired a trademark on “Gold Bond.” The company began expanding the Gold Bond product line to other products, including plaster, acoustical tile, and rock wool, among numerous others. Many of these products contained asbestos.


The use of asbestos in NGC products impacted its own employees as well as workers in residential and commercial construction. Specifically, NGC products with asbestos most severely affected sheetrock workers, drywall tapers, and plasterers. Particular danger occurred for those individuals who sawed or cut products containing asbestos.


By 1990, NGC was over $1 billion in debt, largely due to asbestos-related lawsuits. As a result, the company was forced into bankruptcy. In order to complete the bankruptcy process, NGC was required to setup and fund an asbestos trust to pay for then-existing property damage claims, as well as future personal injury claims. NGC transferred more than $5 million in cash and $600 million in insurance policies to the trust. After emerging from bankruptcy, the company began acquiring some of its competitors. Today, NGC has three primary product brands:


  • Gold Bond Gypsum Board;

  • ProForm drywall finishing products; and

  • PermaBase Cement Board.

All of NGC’s current products are certified to be free of asbestos.


A Dangerous Material


When asbestos is damaged or disturbed, microscopic fibers are released into the air. When these fibers are breathed into the lungs, they can lead to serious health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. These health complications often slowly develop over a long period of time. As a result, exposure from decades ago may only now be manifesting itself into a disease that can be diagnosed.


The use of asbestos was not discontinued in the United States until the 1980s even though the dangers of it were known by many manufacturers several years earlier. This placed at risk numerous individuals, including miners, construction workers, and people who worked at shipyards. Family members were also placed at risk when workers returned to their homes because the fibers would often stick to workers’ clothing or hair.


Providing Help


If you believe that exposure to asbestos has caused the development of a health issue, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Silver Law Group, we understand how difficult it is for you and your family to face an asbestos-related disease. Our attorneys will travel to you to provide the help you need.



National Gypsum Company

Monday, December 14, 2015

Why is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos was extensively used in a wide variety of products until the 1980s. The material was popular because it was inexpensive and provided numerous benefits such as its strength and resistance to heat. Asbestos, however, is dangerous under certain circumstances. Due to the nature of asbestos, health issues may not become apparent for many years.


Danger in the Air


Asbestos containing materials are dangerous when the product is disturbed. This causes microscopic fibers to be released into the air. Asbestos is also considered dangerous when it is friable, which means that it can be easily crumbled with little pressure. Friable asbestos is more susceptible to having its fibers released into the air. Sprayed-on asbestos insulation is considered highly friable, whereas asbestos floor tile is not.


If the fibers enter the lungs (or the digestive tract if asbestos is ingested), serious health issues often develop over time. This is because it is difficult for the body’s immune system to destroy the fibers; they do not readily dissolve or breakdown. The body is unable to remove them once they enter the lungs or body tissues. As a result, they remain in those areas of the body and often lead to the development of disease.


Diseases


There are three primary diseases that exposure to asbestos fibers causes:


  • Asbestosis

  • Lung cancer

  • Mesothelioma

Asbestosis is a non-cancerous, respiratory disease that currently has no effective treatment, which usually means it is fatal. Individuals that develop asbestosis are generally workers who deal with asbestos or asbestos-containing products on a daily basis. It is not, for example, caused as a result of exposure because of the neighborhood a person lived in or living with a person who worked with asbestos.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of death related to exposure to asbestos. Individuals who mined, milled, manufactured, or used asbestos containing materials have a higher rate of incidence of lung cancer than the general population.


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is often referred to as the “signature disease” of asbestos exposure. The individuals at risk of developing this disease include workers exposed to asbestos containing products, but also people who lived with those workers and people who resided near mines, factories, or shipyards that were involved with asbestos.


Compassionate Legal Advocacy


Due to its strength and resistance to heat, asbestos was used in thousands of products for much of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, this widespread use caused many people to be exposed to dangerous fibers. If you have been diagnosed with a disease that you believe was caused by exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the serious nature of asbestos-related diseases and will work diligently for you.



Why is Asbestos Dangerous?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Asbestos Sheets

The use of asbestos sheets for various construction projects began in 1907. These sheets were made from asbestos cement and were used in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Asbestos sheets are considered to be of medium toxicity, but they are generally not friable and not banned from use.


Types of Sheets


Before asbestos sheets were used, fires were able to spread very quickly, which often resulted in the complete loss of buildings. The various types of asbestos sheets include:


  • Corrugated sheets: primarily used in roofs and as siding for walls to provide structural support and protection in the event of fire;

  • Sheathing (also called corrugated asbestos-cement sheathing or asbestos building lumber): used in roofing and siding, frequently in renovation projects or additions because it was easy and inexpensive to install; and

  • Flatsheet: used in interior walls and ceilings.

Asbestos sheets are made by mixing cement, water, and asbestos together. Once mixed, the material is layered and pressed between metallic plates in order to remove excess water and to create a corrugated pattern. This pattern appears as a series of parallel ridges that add strength to the sheet. Some of the manufacturers of asbestos sheet included Keasby & Mattison, Johns Manville, Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation, and National Gypsum Company.


Potential Danger


Asbestos sheets contain between 20-45%asbestos. They can become dangerous when they are damaged. This can occur as a result of power washing, sanding, sawing, drilling, or removing sheets. Any of those activities can lead to microscopic asbestos fibers being released into the air. Additionally, heat, water, weathering, and aging can also weaken sheets, making them more susceptible to being damaged. Construction workers are at the most risk as a result of projects involving installing, removing, renovating, or demolishing asbestos sheets.


Though not friable, asbestos sheets can become friable if they are damaged. A product is friable if it is brittle and can be broken apart with very little force. Prior to any demolition or renovation project, asbestos sheets should be abated and, if possible, they should be removed whole. If asbestos sheets become broken and friable, only a licensed and registered asbestos contractor should handle the abatement process. During the removal, all sheets should be wet in order to help minimize the risk of fibers being released.


When asbestos fibers are breathed into the lungs, they may remain for many years before health complications such as mesothelioma or asbestosis develop. The use of asbestos was widespread for much of the twentieth century. While the use largely ended in the 1980s, older homes or buildings may still contain products that contain asbestos. As a result, care should be taken when renovating these types of structures.


Compassionate Help


If you have been diagnosed with a health condition related to exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to hold those responsible for your exposure accountable. For more information, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the difficulty of dealing with asbestos-related diseases and look forward to discussing how we can help.


 



Asbestos Sheets