A recent report by KXAN revealed that as many as 120 workers for the city of Austin, Texas were likely exposed to asbestos during renovations to offices at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Maintenance Complex Building. As a result, eight construction workers directly involved with the renovations where the asbestos was reported will receive lifetime medical monitoring to ensure any adverse health events are diagnosed and treated immediately.
According to the news outlet’s investigation, preliminary surveys of the work area showed no asbestos contaminated building materials, but some workers raised concerns to supervisors early on into the renovations. Unfortunately, these concerns were dismissed by management, citing the aforementioned survey that failed to show any trace of asbestos in the building.
Sources quoted in the article claim that workers discovered carcinogenic black mastic adhesive underneath carpet and tile and demanded the work be stopped and the area cordoned off to prevent any asbestos from contaminating the facility. However, the work continued as scheduled during February and June 2016. Black mastic is a type of adhesive once commonly used to bind tiles to the floor.
Under Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules, mishandling of asbestos at a construction or work site can carry a $10,000 per day fine and even carry jail time if courts deem the behavior to be especially egregious. Those provisions also call for an inspection to take place prior to any work that may disturb the asbestos and notify building owners if asbestos is discovered during renovations.
Because state and federal asbestos regulations severely restrict the mineral’s use to a limited set of products, the contaminated floor tile and adhesive discovered at the airport facility were likely installed many decades ago. Today, most exposure to asbestos happens during these types of renovation projects, and contractors owe workers a duty to take the proper steps to prevent asbestos exposure from causing serious harm.
The most widely known health consequence of asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer commonly affecting the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs or abdomen. In some cases, the cancer can metastasize and spread to other parts of the body like the brain or heart. Because the disease takes decades to develop, symptoms often present themselves as the signs of other, less serious medical conditions.
Mesothelioma cancer victims have legal rights to hold asbestos manufacturers responsible for manufacturing such dangerous products. While the asbestos industry knew for years about the health risks posed by the mineral, these companies continued to produce contaminated products to turn a profit at the expense of hardworking people.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.