In Alaska, asbestos minerals naturally develop in several regions. There are four regions, specifically, that are considered to be asbestos rich areas and two of them, Juneau and Ketchikan, are highly populated. There are also several industries in Alaska that use asbestos or create asbestos materials.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, our Alaska mesothelioma lawyers may be able to help you recover financial compensation. Several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of residents and workers in the state, and many more are expected to surface. For more information about how you can seek compensation, please contact us today.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Alaska
Naturally occurring asbestos can be found in deposits of ultramafic and serpentine mineral ore throughout the state of Alaska. The four major asbestos-rich areas in the state can be found throughout the panhandle region — two of the areas are located in Juneau and Ketchikan and the others are scattered along the Yukon River around the Kobuk Valley and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Asbestos in its natural state is not harmful. But, it can become dangerous if it suffers damage from harsh weather or is otherwise damaged or disturbed. When it is disturbed and the tiny fibers separate, a tiny dust can form and can be easily inhaled through the nose and mouth. When the fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lining of the lungs and create scar tissue. Over time, the irritation can lead to the development of mesothelioma and other serious illnesses. Residents living near naturally occurring asbestos may, as a result, be at risk of asbestos exposure.
Other Sources of Asbestos Exposure in Alaska
Due to its resistance to heat, flexibility and durability, asbestos was once a heavily desired mineral, specifically in the early 20th century. Although its use is heavily regulated now, it is still present in thousands of products that are in use today.
Examples of products that may contain asbestos include:
- Cement shingles, flat sheet, corrugated sheets
- Friction boards such as brake pads and blocks
- Textured paints
- Floor tiles
- Insulation products
These are just to name a few. Workers who spent years in factories where asbestos materials were manufactured, packaged and repaired are at the highest risk for asbestos exposure, because they likely inhaled large quantities of the harmful fibers. But, family members of those who carried the asbestos fibers home in their clothes as well as consumers who may have been exposed to the material in products that were damages are also at risk.
Construction Industry And Asbestos in Alaska
There have been several construction projects in recent years in Alaska that have been slowed due to the discovery of naturally occurring asbestos. For example, in 2000, a road project to resurface 20 miles of the Dalton Highway was stopped after naturally occurring asbestos was found. This slowed the project and led to a much higher cost.
In the town of Ambler, the building of sewage drainage lagoon and an airport project were stopped for years after naturally occurring asbestos was discovered. Gravel was sourced from a pit that contained the asbestos. Gravel from that pit was used for several city roads and was a serious health issue because vehicles used to build the roads created large clouds of dust as they drove over the gravel. This dust could be laden with asbestos fibers and is especially dangerous for people using All Terrain Vehicles with open air cabins.
There were efforts to find gravel sources that were free of asbestos but it was difficult. Some parts of Alaska lack sources of gravel that do not contain asbestos. So, construction workers who are working with gravel in Alaska should be aware of the possible asbestos exposure risks.
Arctic Surplus Salvage Yard
This is an old salvage yard that covered 24 acres near Fairbanks. The site was full of salvaged materials and scrap materials for more than four decades. This included asbestos rolls, bricks, insulation and pipe wrapping. The site was deemed to be a public health hazard when an investigation showed that there was contaminated soil and groundwater. Workers in past years were confirmed to have been exposed to asbestos and lead, among other harmful substances.
In 1989, the EPA put up a fence around the area and took out 22,000 pounds of asbestos. The next year, the site was put on the national priorities list as a Superfund site.
Workers who may have been exposed to asbestos at this site should be certain to be checked out by a doctor every year. It is possible as the years pass that you could begin to develop symptoms of asbestos diseases.
Mesothelioma Attorney Alaska
If you or someone you love is suffering as a result of asbestos exposure, you should consider speaking with a mesothelioma lawyer in Alaska as soon as possible. I’m sure the last you thing you want to do is go through a long drawn out legal battle while you are ill, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Millions of dollars have been set aside for victims of workplace exposure and you may be entitled to a share. To find out what you qualify for and how we can help you and your family get compensated for your unlawful suffering, please contact us today.
We know the laws specific to your state and we have helped families just like yours. Call 1-800-352-0871 to schedule an evaluation today.