Nebraska, although known as a rural ranching state, is home to small manufacturing industries and power plants that may have endangered workers and their families to toxic levels of asbestos. Individuals who worked for the following industries and companies in Nebraska may have been at risk of asbestos exposure:
- Petroleum industry
- Railroad industry
- Power plants
- Western Mineral Products, once located in Omaha
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company
- R. Grace vermiculite plant
Workers at these sites, responsible for operating or repairing heavy machinery, are at the highest risk for exposure since they likely inhaled large quantities of asbestos fibers on a daily basis.
Processing Vermiculite in Omaha
Western Mineral Products received thousands of tons of contaminated vermiculite from the mines in Libby, Montana. The vermiculite ore was processed for a number of insulation, construction and gardening materials. Huge clouds of dust were released during the processing, endangering both employees and Nebraska residents near the plant.
Workers responsible for the handling of asbestos are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos related illnesses. Examples of task include:
- Unloading contaminated vermiculite
- Heating, bagging and sweeping asbestos waste
Railroads and Asbestos Exposure
Railroads such as Burlington Northern were also common sites of high-level asbestos exposure. Due to its durability and resistance to friction, asbestos was used in the manufacturing of train and locomotive parts from the 1930s to the 1970s. Today, railroads that continue to utilize railroad components that were made prior to the 1980s may still run the risk of endangering workers.
Asbestos was used in several railroad and locomotive parts such as:
- Insulation for boilers, engines, boxcars, ceilings of cabooses, pipe coverings, electrical panels and driving cabins and carriages.
- Rail equipment such as cement tiles, wallboards, plaster, gaskets and sealing cement
- Locomotive parts such as brake linings and pads, clutches and flooring and ceiling materials used for passenger cars
The diseases which can be caused by asbestos exposure — such as lung cancer, mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis — often don’t appear until years (even decades) after the asbestos exposure occurred; so many retired railroad workers are just now experiencing the effects.
Power Plants and Asbestos Exposure in Nebraska
The Sheldon Station and the Mark T Moor Substation are power plants that use coal and asbestos was used in both plants for 30 years or more. The boilers at Sheldon Station generate 224 megawatts of power. The boilers are lined with asbestos insulation, and workers could have been exposed to this toxic substance in the years before the mid-1980s.
Asbestos Exposure in Nebraska Floods
In 2011, there was a major flood of the Missouri River, which swamped parts of Nebraska, including Omaha and Council Bluffs. Hundreds of homes and businesses were wrecked by the floods, and asbestos containing materials were likely exposed to air and water. According to the NE Department of Health and Human Services, property owners should dispose of asbestos contaminated debris at approved landfills. It is possible that some residents were exposed to asbestos fibers during these floods and in the clean up process.
Also, due to great flood damages, homeowners may have decided to demolish some buildings, but the state government mandates that you have an official asbestos inspection done first. Buildings that were severely damaged and made dangerous by the floods may be torn down without inspection but all permits must be obtained.
Asbestos Litigation in Nebraska
A case that was filed in 2007 in NE claimed that a widow’s husband who died from mesothelioma was exposed in the workplace for years to asbestos. He worked for the DeMarco Brothers Company from 1954 until 1980. He completed many construction and remodeling projects around the Midwest during those years.
Asbestos containing materials were at many of the sites. Some of these sites included a post office and many hospitals and schools. The court ruled that there was cause that the man’s cancer did occur from the work exposure to asbestos. The company was ordered to repay the widow for her expenses which totalled more than $113,000.
Also, in 2012, five ex-railroad workers filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against against BNSF Railway. The claim alleged that the company exposed workers to asbestos in a negligent fashion. It also claimed that the claimants were exposed to asbestos while they were working as carmen in shops in Omaha and Lincoln. One of the claimants died of asbestos cancer of the colon in 2010, and others developed lung diseases related to asbestos. As of this writing, those cases still are pending.
Mesothelioma Lawyer Nebraska
Our mesothelioma attorneys have extensive experience helping current and former railroad workers, plant workers and other industry workers and their families recoup financial damages for illnesses related to asbestos exposure on the job. We recognize the time sensitivity surrounding these cases as asbestos cancers such as mesothelioma are rapidly moving. As a result, we help our clients get the maximum amount of compensation possible in the quickest amount of time.
Mesothelioma Statistics in Nebraska
There have been 231 mesothelioma deaths in this state from 1999 until 2013, with 37 asbestosis deaths.
Getting Legal Help from Asbestos Attorneys
If you or your family member received a diagnosis of an asbestos cancer disease, don’t hesitate to contact a Nebraska asbestos law firm for help. Damages such as medical bills, job loss and the costs of rehabilitation may be eligible for financial compensation.
Contact mesothelioma center today to schedule a private, no-cost consultation with a Nebraska asbestos attorney to learn more about your options. In addition to legal help, we can also help you seek out the best treatment options for your illness. While there currently is no cure for mesothelioma, there are several treatment options that can help ease the situation and make you (or your affected loved one) obtain the highest comfort level.