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Asbestos Mesothelioma: Family Sues 33 Companies on Behalf of Deceased Father

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Beaumont, TXThe family of Lawrence Baggett have had enough. Having watched as their father died a painful death from asbestos mesothelioma, and faced the emotional and financial outcome of his illness, they filed a lawsuit alleging their father was not warned adequately about working around asbestos.

Asbestos RemovalLarry worked around asbestos most of his life. He was a labourer and operator, working for companies such as A.O. Smith Corp., A.W. Chesterton Co., Bechtel Corp., Certainteed Corp., Crane Co., Exxon Mobil, Fluor Enterprises, Foster Wheeler, Garlock, GE, Ingersoll Rand, Lockheed Martin, 3M, Owens-Illinois, Union Carbide, Uniroyal Goodrich Tire and Zurn Industries. These companies and many more–33 in total–are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Larry's family allege that the defendant companies not only did not warn their father about the asbestos-related health dangers he faced every day on the job, but also that the companies did not test the products Larry used to find out just how hazardous they were, and potentially remove them from the workplace, and the market, in some instances.

Presumably, Larry cannot have been the only worker at these companies who came into contact with asbestos on the job. It's estimated that 1.3 million construction workers face significant exposure to asbestos during renovations, demolitions, and asbestos removal, and more than 27 million workers were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1980. Larry was one of those workers. Sadly, he has become an asbestos mesothelioma statistic.

The Environmental Working Group Action Fund estimates that 10,000 people a year die from asbestos-caused diseases the United States, which includes one out of every 125 American men who die over the age of 50. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that number is on the rise. In a recent analysis of deaths records of US citizens, CDC officials found that between 1999 and 2005 malignant asbestos mesothelioma accounted for 18,068 deaths and that the numbers of deaths increased annually during that period. And people continue to be exposed today. Of note, the CDC report states, "Although asbestos has been eliminated in the manufacture of many products, it is still being imported and used in the US in various construction and transportation products."

Asbestos Exposure Can be a Family Affair

Asbestos mesothelioma doesn't just affect the people working with it directly. Family members exposed to worker's clothing over a period of time, may be risk for inhaling those fibres and developing mesothelioma as well.

Asbestos mesothelioma can have a long latency period – sometimes taking more than 30 years for symptoms to show. Recently the medical profession has started to recognise that people can be affected by asbestos-caused diseases through secondary exposure. For example, cases of second-hand asbestos exposure been recently been reported by wives and children of men who worked in the shipyards in World War II. The workers were exposed to large amounts of damaged or "friable' asbestos while on the job. The men may also have sawed, sanded, hammered or otherwise manipulated the asbestos which resulted in large amounts of toxic dust being produced.

Not surprisingly, lawsuits have been filed by women who became ill following exposure to asbestos fibres while doing their husband's or father's contaminated overalls on a daily basis. During interviews with these victims, they have stated that it was quite normal to shake out the overalls before washing them, which created even more airborne asbestos fibres. Over the years, the constant inhalation of these fibres resulted in the development of asbestos-related diseases.

Thankfully, second hand exposure does not appear to be an issue in Larry Baggett's family, but first hand exposure certainly was for their father. Now it is up to the companies to answer the family's questions and their call for justice.

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