CLEVELAND ASBESTOS
EXPOSURE


Cleveland Asbestos Lawyer reviewing mesothelioma & lung cancer cases 
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Cleveland Asbestos Attorney

investigating asbestos-related illnesses & mesothelioma cases

The Cleveland, Ohio area was a manufacturing hub for several industries in much of the 20th century. Thousands of Ohio workers were employed by companies in the rubber and tire, steel, auto, printing and chemical industries. Contact a Cleveland asbestos attorney to review your case. 

Many Ohio companies constructed plants and buildings with asbestos materials and used asbestos in hundreds of products that workers handled on a daily basis. Cleveland area workers may have been placed an increased risk for later developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.

Asbestos, used in piping, insulation, machinery, auto components and safety equipment, is extremely toxic and even a small amount has the ability to cause damage to the tissue surrounding the lungs after asbestos fibers are inhaled. Yet companies still used asbestos in Ohio facilities because it was cheap, durable, fire resistant and a proven insulator.

As a result, thousands of Ohio workers have fallen ill and developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Thousands of American workers are still at risk of illnesses and cancers, and those diagnosed may contact a Cleveland asbestos lawyer to consider the legal options.

Negligent Cleveland area employers may be held legally and financially accountable for workplace injury in Akron, Mansfield, Youngstown, Warren and Canton.

An experienced Cleveland asbestos lawyer can recover compensation for victims and their families. The Lyon Firm has obtained large settlements for those affected by Ohio’s long history of workplace asbestos exposure.

Joe Lyon is an experienced Ohio Toxic Tort Attorney and Cleveland Asbestos Lawyer reviewing Ohio workplace asbestos exposure, illnesses and injuries. Contact The Lyon Firm to discuss filing claims and potential settlement and compensation.

Cleveland Asbestos Worksites

Some of the companies below were notably using asbestos materials on site in machinery or built into the facilities. When asbestos materials break down they posed a serious health risk in the following corporations:

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A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

Many experience asbestos exposure through the workplace. Workplaces may have been filled with toxic materials, and employers may have failed to warn of the serious health risks of the job. Filing a suit helps to raise the awareness of job safety.

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Questions about Cleveland Asbestos Exposure

How Does Asbestos Exposure Occur?

When asbestos breaks down over time or with use, the fibers of the material can become airborne, presenting a risk of inhaling or ingesting the toxin. Asbestos is a cancer-causing agent, and those heavily exposed can develop scarring in the lungs and later develop lung cancer and mesothelioma.

What Materials Contain Asbestos?

Asbestos was widely used in piping, insulation, electrical components, machine parts, packaging, flooring, ceiling tiles, roofing, and in many building materials.

Can I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

If you were exposed to asbestos at your workplace, and have developed cancer or a related illness, you are likely to qualify for compensation.

Why Did Companies Use Asbestos?

Asbestos was cheap, durable, fire-resistant and light, and was thought to be the perfect insulating material before research showed it was extremely hazardous to the health.

Who was most at risk for exposure?

 

How were Steel Workers Exposed to Asbestos?

Steel and Metal Workers at Risk of Exposure


According to a series of medical studies, workers in the metals and steel industry are at an increased risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Workers that regularly inhale asbestos fibers may eventually develop severe scarring of the lungs, and fatal diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Even family members of steel factory workers are at risk of potential second-hand exposure. Asbestos fibers may be brought home on the clothes or skin of an employee.

Health issues related to asbestos exposure often develop many years after exposure, so former steel plant workers should monitor their health for signs of an asbestos-related lung disease. About 3,000 U.S. citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma this year.

As a result of widespread occupational exposure to toxic substances like asbestos, many former workers in Ohio are filing lawsuits to help compensate for their debilitating, and deadly illnesses.

For a typical steel mill worker, direct handling of machinery, equipment and material in steel plants expose them to large amounts the toxic materials on a daily basis.

It is estimated that asbestos was added to more than 3,000 construction products, many used in the steel industry. Employees who worked in high-temperature settings wore asbestos coats and leggings during certain production processes. Clothing such as gloves, aprons, coveralls and facemasks contained asbestos materials.

From the 1940s through the end of the 1970s, steel mills also commonly used asbestos as an insulation material. Steel mills in Ohio were constructed with toxic materials in refractory bricks, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and liner boards. Asbestos blankets, used for covering ladles, were often strewn about carelessly on the plant floors.

Asbestos was used to insulate equipment, which included the following:

  • Ovens
  • Hot blast stoves
  • Furnaces
  • Rolling mills
  • Tanks
  • Boilers
  • Cranes
  • Molding boards
  • Steam Pipes
  • Generators
How Were Auto Workers Exposed to Asbestos?

Auto Workers Exposure


Public health specialists say each year thousands of auto-repair workers are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. A warning published by the Automotive Safety Association found that approximately 1 in 10 mechanics at auto repair shops could be at risk for developing an asbestos-related cancer.

Since repair shops also are often short on air circulation, the combination enclosed work spaces and free-floating asbestos fibers makes the occupation particularly dangerous. Ohio General Motors Workers can contact The Lyon Firm, an Ohio asbestos attorney, for more information on their risk factors.

Reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advise mechanics to “assume that all brakes have asbestos-type shoes.” They go on to say it is impossible to know if brake or clutch components contain asbestos by visual inspection. The danger to mechanics will continue for decades as asbestos-filled brakes on warehouse shelves continue to be installed on vehicles.

Was Asbestos in Schools ?

School Asbestos Exposure


The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are asbestos-containing materials in the majority of Ohio’s schools. Asbestos was commonly used in the materials used to construct schools in Ohio, which means children may be exposed anywhere on the premises, included in classrooms, cafeterias, hallways and gymnasiums.

In 2013, inspectors found damaged asbestos that needed repair or removal in more than 600 locations at more than 180 schools in Chicago. In 2014, families and teaching staff at several California school districts were seriously concerned when contractors removed asbestos materials unsafely earlier that year.

The school districts reportedly failed to warn parents and teachers about the project, and also failed to use proper preventative measures to prevent exposure. The schools and its contractors violated EPA regulations and put teachers and students at risk.

How were Power Plant Workers Exposed to Asbestos?

Ohio Power Plant Asbestos


Due to the extreme heat and fire hazards at Ohio power plants, asbestos insulation was regularly installed throughout buildings in the walls, pipes, boilers, electric and most machinery before the 1980s. As a result, many plants workers were exposed to asbestos, possibly inhaling loose fibers into their lungs, potentially causing serious diseases and cancers like mesothelioma.

Aside from the buildings being filled with asbestos, Ohio workers in some capacities often raised their risk of exposure by wearing asbestos-containing protective clothing, including coats, aprons, mitts and masks.

Over time, asbestos insulation and products break down and release toxic fibers into the air, endangering thousands of workers in power plants such as welders, electricians, pipefitters and maintenance workers in contact with insulated areas.

How were Shipyard Workers Exposed?

Ohio Shipyard Workers Cancer


For the last 75 years, shipyard workers have been among those in the U.S. workforce with an elevated risk of asbestos exposure. Particularly before 1980, it is likely that workers in the ship building industry were in contact with dangerous levels of asbestos, increasing their chances of developing diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

A 2008 study, published by the Ulster Medical Society, indicated shipyard workers have an asbestosis mortality rate 16-times greater than other studied occupations. Authorities have estimated that thousands of shipyard workers—many in Ohio—have died as a result of excess asbestos exposure.

How were Construction Workers Exposed to Asbestos?

Construction Asbestos Lawsuits


Nearly any construction, renovation or demolition site in Ohio could have the potential to expose workers to harmful asbestos fibers. Asbestos has numerous applications in the construction industry, and many were used as common practice up until the 1980s in the construction of homes, schools and commercial buildings. Some of the most commonly used materials include the following:

  • Adhesives (asphaltic cutback adhesive, emulsion adhesive, fibrous adhesive, lagging adhesive)
  • Construction Mastics
  • Gold Bond Adhesives
  • Gunning Mix
  • Ductwork Connectors and duct adhesive
  • Floor Backing
  • Drywall taping compounds
  • Insulation
  • Flooring tiles
  • Roofing tiles and seals
  • Cement and Cement adhesive
  • Wallpaper
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Spray-on acoustic insulation
  • Duct tape
  • Joint packing
  • Construction felts
  • Siding panels
  • Textured paints
  • Loose-fill attic insulation

Asbestos exposure and its deadly consequences are an ongoing issue throughout the country. Medical studies estimate that the cumulative total number of asbestos associated deaths in the United States may exceed 200,000 by the year 2030.

Construction companies and manufacturers of building materials have a responsibility to provide America’s employees with safe working environments.

What are some other Areas of Occupational Exposure?

Occupational Asbestos Exposure


The following tasks are associated with possible high asbestos exposure:

  • Installing framework in factory construction projects
  • Inspecting factory equipment
  • Masonry work
  • Machining
  • Assembling and repairing boilers and plate work
  • Operating plant machines and cranes
  • Welding
  • Tending to stoves or furnaces
  • Applying metal lath
  • Laying heating and ventilating pipes
  • Forging and heat-treating steel products and tools
  • Insulating various types of pipe systems
  • Installing acoustic tiles
  • Smelting and pouring materials at high temperatures
  • Plastering and sanding surface finishes
  • Working in an enclosed space with asbestos products (shingles and tiles, etc.)
What are Some Examples of Settlements in Asbestos Exposure Cases?
  • In 2010, a painter in Texas who developed mesothelioma after spending much of his life working with texturized top coats and fillers sued a number of asbestos product manufacturers. A jury awarded him an $11 million verdict.
  • In 2005, a San Francisco jury awarded a sheet metal worker nearly $2 million dollars after he developed mesothelioma from working with duct connectors and duct sealers, which contained asbestos.
  • Owens Corning Fiberglass Corporation was found negligent and a jury awarded one victim of mesothelioma a verdict of nearly $3.5 million. His attorney said the man worked for Owens Corning  in the 1960s and was exposed to their toxic insulation product.
  • In the 1990s, two engineers filed lawsuits against North American Refractory Company (NARCO). According to their lawyers, the victims, who suffered from related lung diseases, were exposed to high levels of asbestos dust from a gunning mix. The jury found North American Refractory Company liable and awarded the men $7 million.
Will the EPA Evaluate Asbestos Exposure?

EPA Asbestos Approval


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will no longer evaluate asbestos in homes and businesses as a serious danger or health risk, as the EPA announced in recent reports.

The EPA asbestos decisions, under Scott Pruitt, decided it is unnecessary to evaluate the health risks of the toxic substance despite the continuing workplace and home hazards that still lead to mesothelioma deaths for up to 3,000 Americans each year.

The agency will still evaluate and require approval for any new use of asbestos, but let the already-present toxin remains in many public building, businesses, schools, houses and hospitals. Fifty-five countries have a total ban on the use of asbestos, including nations like the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Japan.

The new EPA asbestos stance has gone mostly undeterred because the current administration sees eye-to-eye on safety deregulation and pro-corporate interests. The health and safety of American workers and consumers, however, already in danger, could lose its footing as the EPA drifts toward toxic tolerance.

What are the EPA Standards for Asbestos?

EPA Asbestos Standards


According to the EPA Website, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. That risk is made worse by certain factors, such as smoking and long-term exposure in workplaces known to be laden with the toxin.

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure, and the greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing severe health problems. Lung disease symptoms may lay dormant after exposure, and can take years to develop.

Asbestos-related health conditions can be difficult to identify and confused with other respiratory health issues. Healthcare professionals help identify the possibility of asbestos exposure by looking at the person’s medical, work, and environmental history. Known major health effects have been linked to asbestos exposure including lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, adenocarcinoma and mesothelioma.

On one hand the EPA regards asbestos as a cancer-causing agent, which fills older buildings and presents health hazards to various Ohio workers and consumers, and yet the agency has not taken measures to eradicate the toxin as safety advocates say they could.

The EPA has not properly evaluated the dangerous legacy of existing and so levels of contamination are unknown in Ohio. We do know asbestos exists in many areas in homes, schools, hospitals, factories, auto products, and workplaces but there is little help in evaluating an individual’s Ohio asbestos exposure risks.

Despite a significant reduction in the use of asbestos in past decades, annual deaths continue because asbestos-related diseases lay dormant.

How can I Identify Asbestos in my Home?

 

Identifying Asbestos

To the untrained eye, it may be impossible to identify an asbestos product unless labeling indicates a known asbestos name brand. Even taking normal precautions, a visual inspection of a building structure is not sufficient to determine if it contains asbestos.

Rather, abatement professionals should contacted and samples of suspected asbestos fibers should be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines how to collect material samples that may contain asbestos, but the American Lung Association recommends hiring a certified asbestos professional.

There may be dangerous asbestos materials in any older building in the U.S. built before 1980. If notice the following when identifying asbestos, it may be prudent to contact a professional to help assess the risk and need of abatement.

•    Asbestos Insulation Board was commonly used in walls, building façades, ceilings, fire-proofing, and elevator shafts. It can be found in kitchens and bathrooms. Sometimes the material has been coated with paint or clad with tiles.
•    Ceiling Tiles may contain asbestos and there are several different types. When dealing with older ceiling tiles it is best to wait for a professional to identify the type.
•    Asbestos Cement products were widely used due to the product longevity. Products include roofing sheets, roof tiles, flues and drainage pipes.
•    Asbestos Corrugated Cement Roofing Sheets were used in a number of applications including garages, sheds and commercial buildings.
•    Vinyl Tiles containing asbestos were used until the 1980s. Often hidden beneath other flooring, asbestos tiles were commonly used prior to more decorative finishes.
•    Asbestos Sheet Vinyl was used as a backing material or as a decorative finish. These may be found in toilet seats, cisterns or window sills.
•    Asbestos Textured Coatings were used to cover walls and ceilings from the 1960s until the 1980s. A well-known brand of textured coating that did contain asbestos was Artex. The patterns used for textured coatings included swirls and circles.
•    Asbestos Pipe Insulation was used to insulate hot water pipes, both in commercial and residential properties. The insulation coated the outside of pipes and often wrapped in a protective coating or painted, making it difficult to identify.
•    Asbestos Loose Fill insulation is among the most dangerous forms. It was used to insulate floors and walls in primarily commercial buildings. It was also used in the ship-building industry. Loose fill asbestos usually has a blue-grey or white in color, and looks similar to candy floss.

Your Right to Safety
Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Cases

Asbestos can be found in homes built before 1980, construction sites, and in many military circumstances. According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOHS), there are 75 different jobs that can expose workers to asbestos, with those jobs primarily involving construction and manufacturing. Approximately 107,000 workers are affected by asbestos each year. 

Mesothelioma is a serious illness that has been linked to asbestos exposure in medical literature. It is estimated that there will be many new cases after 2020 due to the latency period of 20-50 years after being first exposed to asbestos.

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