As all of us who love this city know, New Orleans is one of the most unique places in the world in a state and region that is rich with culture and tradition. Sadly, however, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast also have a lengthy and complicated history with asbestos that has cost thousands of people their lives due to mesothelioma and which continues to cause devastating illnesses throughout the region.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in plentiful quantities all over the world. Because asbestos was cheap, durable, and heat-resistant, it was used for decades in the 20th Century to insulate homes and commercial buildings across the nation, including in Louisiana. But in Louisiana, the presence of asbestos was even more widespread, as the industries which have brought jobs and prosperity to the region also brought a significantly greater use of asbestos.
Gulf Coast Workers Uniquely Effected By Asbestos Exposure
Workers in a number of Gulf Coast industries were exposed to large amounts of asbestos during their careers:
- Oil refineries. Refineries deal with high temperatures and volatile, highly flammable liquid. It’s no surprise then that asbestos was used in large quantities in refineries throughout Louisiana. It was used to insulate pipelines, tanks, reactors, pumps and furnaces. From Shreveport to Lake Charles to New Orleans, tens of thousands of refinery workers were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses as a result.
- Shipyards and Ports. Shipbuilders loved asbestos and used it extensively for decades because of its high levels of resistance to both heat and corrosive moisture. Engine and propulsion systems, and insulating and waterproof coatings were just some of the areas where asbestos was used in shipbuilding, and there are ships still in service today that contain asbestos. Dockworkers, shipbuilders and sailors all have been exposed to asbestos simply by virtue of being around asbestos-laden vessels throughout their working life.
- Power and Chemical Plants. Asbestos was widely used in the construction of power and chemical plants throughout Louisiana, again because of its resistance to heat and fire and its relative abundance and inexpensiveness.
Yet Another Tragedy in Katrina’s Wake
Though it’s been almost a decade since Hurricane Katrina devastated our city and region, its impact can still be felt in so many aspects of our lives. First-responders, volunteers, and residents were all exposed to asbestos in the immediate aftermath and clean-up. Destroyed buildings containing asbestos were left exposed, and the winds and flooding resulted in the release of deadly asbestos fibers into the water and the atmosphere. As buildings are demolished and rebuilding continues, the risk of asbestos exposure remains and it is likely that the number of mesothelioma cases in New Orleans will rise over the years as the effects of this increased asbestos exposure manifest themselves.
Galante & Bivalacqua: New Orleans Mesothelioma and Asbestos Litigation Lawyers
At Galante & Bivalacqua in New Orleans, we understand the unique risks and challenges faced by the region’s asbestos and mesothelioma victims. Our extensive knowledge of the sources of asbestos exposure in the industries in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast has contributed to our solid track record of providing aggressive representation to match this aggressive disease, including securing multi-million dollar recoveries for our clients.
If you or a loved one is suffering from this devastating disease, we stand ready to assist you with compassionate counsel and zealous, experienced representation on your behalf. Call Galante & Bivalacqua at (504) 648-1858 to discuss your case today.
This article has been prepared by Galante & Bivalacqua for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.