Environmental Asbestos Exposure Attorneys in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, NY

Exposure to asbestos has been recognized as the cause of mesothelioma for nearly 60 years. While many cases of mesothelioma result from occupational exposure, mesothelioma can also result from environmental asbestos exposure. Environmental asbestos exposure occurs in neighborhoods surrounding industrial facilities that used or processed substantial amounts of raw asbestos fibers.

For those living near an asbestos source, the magnitude of increased mesothelioma risk depends on proximity to the emission site and the rate and quantity of asbestos emitted, weather conditions and prevailing wind direction. For instance, high asbestos emission levels at the Durez plant in North Tonawanda, New York, between 1959 and 1978 have resulted in several cases of mesothelioma among neighborhood residents.

Environmental Asbestos Exposure Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC

Approximately 76 former Durez employees have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and at least five cases of mesothelioma have been reported among the community of people living or working near Durez. Because malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease, the unusually high incidence of mesothelioma among Durez workers demonstrates that they are at a greatly increased risk of developing the disease. Increased mesothelioma risk among the Durez workforce also confirms evidence that environmental asbestos exposure is the cause of mesothelioma among nearby residents.

Durez mixed raw asbestos with other materials to strengthen the plastic molding compound it manufactured. This was an extremely dusty process, and dust collectors were used to siphon off dust from the mixers. The dust collectors were not effective, however, and asbestos dust escaped into the surrounding neighborhood. Air currents disseminated the asbestos dust throughout the community, where it settled on residents’ homes, lawns, cars, and swimming pools.

According to industrial hygiene and epidemiological studies, air currents have the ability to carry asbestos far distances depending on the strength and pattern of the wind. Therefore, even residents who live significant distances from an asbestos source can have an elevated risk of mesothelioma caused by environmental exposure. For example, studies have reported a significantly elevated risk among women living around facilities that used crocidolite, and as far as 1.5 miles if their residence was in the direction of prevailing winds.

Environmental asbestos exposure also increases the risk of developing mesothelioma for those living near a source of naturally occurring asbestos. This is the case in Jefferson County, New York, where naturally occurring asbestos formations exist throughout talc deposits.

These deposits, known as the Balmat mines, were actively mined from 1968 to 1981 by International Talc Co., later known as Gouverneur Talc. As a result of the mining of these naturally occurring asbestos formations, residents of Jefferson County near the mines were environmentally exposed to asbestos. Jefferson County has continually had one of the highest mortality rates for mesothelioma in the United States, and the mesothelioma rate is now five to ten times the background rate, among the general population.

Environmental Asbestos Exposure Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC - Outdoor Asbestos Exposure

Environmental exposure to asbestos from living or working near facilities like Durez or near mines like the Balmat mines put many residents in these communities at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer.

The strength of a claim involving environmental exposure depends, in part, on ruling out other exposures to asbestos or agents that cause cancer. If you worked at a steel mill or in a similar occupation where you were exposed to asbestos and also lived near an industrial site where asbestos was used, both exposures would likely factor into the cause of your disease. These companies knew about the dangers of asbestos long before the rest of the world. They endangered many lives with their silence and are now being held responsible.

At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, we have worked with many victims of asbestos exposure. If you bring your case to our team, you can trust us to handle it with care, knowledge, and experience.

If you or a loved one believe you were environmentally exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.

Understanding How Symptoms Present

Asbestos-related illnesses have a long latency period. So when symptoms do begin to present themselves, it’s wise to see a doctor immediately before the situation worsens.

Some of the symptoms of mesothelioma to watch out for include:

  • Chest or lower-back pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Face or arm swelling

Mesothelioma is one of the most dangerous consequences of asbestos exposure. If you suspect you have been exposed in the past and begin to experience these symptoms, call a doctor right away.

Other diseases that stem from environmental asbestos exposure include lung cancer, lung scarring, and pleural disease. Each of these conditions requires extensive treatment.

How Are Environmental Asbestos Exposure Related Illnesses Treated

There is a long list of treatment options for victims of asbestos exposure. The primary goal is always to help a patient continue breathing without distress. To reach that goal, your care provider may recommend any of these treatments:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Inhalers
  • Medications like bronchodilators
  • Postural drainage
  • Humidifiers

And if your illness is cancerous, you may also require surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Needless to say, these treatments are expensive. And if you are also forced to take time away from work, the bills may become too much to handle.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder where to turn for compensation. If your exposure was environmental, can you file a claim or lawsuit?

Get in touch with Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford. We have provided an overview of your legal options below. But if you want specific answers, it’s best to get in touch with us directly.

Can You Be Compensated for Environmental Asbestos Exposure?

Occupational asbestos exposure is on the decline, but some studies indicate that environmental exposure is on the rise in some areas. Our hope is that, by spreading awareness about the risk of environmental asbestos, we can help to correct the problem.

We are also committed to aiding the current victims of this type of exposure. When there is not a clearly responsible party for your toxic exposure, you may wonder whether you can receive compensation at all.

Thankfully, there are legal options available to you, even if a lawsuit or settlement doesn’t apply. Asbestos trust funds are one option. These trust funds are established when asbestos manufacturers go bankrupt. There is enough money in these funds to provide for current and future mesothelioma patients. Give us a call to discuss asbestos trust funds and whether you are eligible for compensation.

When Should You Call Our Office?

As soon as you receive a diagnosis for asbestos-related illnesses, call our office. In the state of New York, there is a statute of limitations for these kinds of claims. You have three years from the date of diagnosis to file an asbestos lawsuit. And if a loved one has died from asbestos, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death.

If your case is eligible, a lawsuit or settlement may be in your best interest. It’s a good idea to call our legal team as soon as possible so we can get the process started.

What to Expect from Your Free Consultation

We hope you have found the information we’ve provided helpful. Of course, we can offer more help to victims who reach out to us directly. If you have questions about asbestos law, environmental exposure, or how a victim can receive compensation, reach out to our experienced legal team today.

You should know that all meetings with our team are completely confidential. And your first consultation will be free.

At this consultation, we will ask relevant questions so we can begin to understand your situation and where you were exposed to asbestos. From there, we can help you understand the legal options available to you.

Give us a call or visit our contact page to get in touch. We serve clients from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and the surrounding areas.

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