For most people in New Orleans and Louisiana, exposure to asbestos, which is a naturally occurring substance in the environment, will be negligible and poses almost no health risk.
However, because of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, it is possible that Gulf Coast residents encountered higher levels of exposure as old insulation, shingles, siding, and other asbestos-containing materials were damaged and exposed and buildings were torn down quickly.
The results of this potential exposure won’t be known for many decades, but the Environmental Protection Agency has warned that airborne asbestos resulting from the storm and its aftermath may pose health risks to residents and those who worked to rebuild the region.
Some occupations have become notorious for exposing workers to airborne asbestos fibers, which become lodged in lung tissue and may result in mesothelioma later in life.
Shipyard workers experience a higher-than-normal rate of mesothelioma (particularly those in Navy yards) because of the wide use of asbestos as an insulator in older ships. Oil refineries are another source of occupational exposure, because asbestos has been used to insulate pipelines, tanks, furnaces, and other equipment.
Numerous workers in these industries at locations throughout Louisiana have become sick from asbestos-related diseases late in life, and the damage asbestos has caused workers probably isn’t finished.
Other types of work continue to expose employees to asbestos, including auto mechanics and people working in new home construction, as well as those who work in asbestos remediation. New Orleans and Louisiana likely have a long road ahead when it comes to treating those with asbestos related cancers.
For help accessing compensation for asbestos exposure, contact The Gertler Law Firm at (504) 581-6411. Our mesothelioma professionals can ensure that you get top quality medical care, and that your family is taken care of now and in the future.