Louisiana Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information

In the two decades between 1980 and 2000, the population of Louisiana grew by just over five percent to 4.5 million. During this time, 700 asbestos related deaths were recorded, including those caused by both asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Louisiana is located at the junction of two Gulf Cost major waterways. This has resulted in flourishing maritime industries as well as oil drilling and oil refining. The state additionally boasts eight major power generation plants.  Employees of these three industries are known to experience high levels of exposure to asbestos fibers. In some cases the exposure is unintentional, while in others willful negligence has been determined as playing a significant role.

The fate of shipbuilders in this area was most likely sealed by a tragic fire aboard a cruise ship off of the coast of New Jersey. Following this 1935 incident, asbestos became routinely used in the construction of ships and other sea-faring vessels. As a result of this change, Navy veterans and shipyard workers generally have the highest likelihood for contracting asbestos related illnesses.

The fire-resistant properties of asbestos proved useful throughout Louisiana’s history for more than just ship builders. It was at one time frequently implemented on the construction sites of power generation facilities. Monokote, a spray-on fireproof coating, was reported as being free of asbestos when in actuality it contained as much as 12% of the harmful substance. Used routinely in the past to coat pipe fittings, steam generators and conduits, this product was later marketed as being free of asbestos though it still contained 1% of the substance. As a result of numerous lawsuits against the manufacturer of this product, W.R. Grace, company officials filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

The excessive flammability of oil, existent even when in its crude form, has made asbestos a common staple in drilling facilities and refineries. Much of the exposure that employees face can often come from the protective gear purported to promote onsite safety. Fireproof gloves, jackets and other equipment designed to protect workers from hazardous environments has been known to release asbestos fibers into the air as the items become aged and worn. In addition numerous Louisiana cement plants used amphibole asbestos as an alternative to chrysotile asbestos. In these locations workers have experienced significantly elevated cancer rates.

Statistically, Louisiana’s rates for asbestos related deaths are unusual in comparison to the numbers for other locations.  Almost identical numbers of patients died from asbestosis as from mesothelioma.  While asbestosis is the more commonly-diagnosed disease, mesothelioma is far deadlier, making the nearly equivalent rates of death in Louisiana unusual.