For several weeks now, our mesothelioma lawyers have been detailing sites across the country that processed vermiculite, a natural mineral that can contain asbestos.

And exposure to asbestos can lead to a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a fatal and incurable form of cancer. Microscopic asbestos fibers can be ingested and travel throughout the body until they land on the walls of major organs, such as the lungs and stomach. There, they can sit for as long as 30 or 40 years before a doctor makes a diagnosis.

Asbestos exposure may have been most prevalent in the U.S. military, construction and automobile industries which were major users of asbestos-based products, including insulation, during the 20th Century. While asbestos has never officially been banned in this country, its use has been severely limited in recent years because of the knowledge of its damaging effects. It was used primarily in the construction of houses and businesses as well as in floor and ceiling tiles, peat moss, other garden products and manufactured goods.

And from 1919 to 1990, a mine in Libby, Montana produced 70 percent of the country’s vermiculite. The mine would discover the mineral and ship it to plants from California to New York, where workers would exfoliate the mineral to use in manufacturing. But even two decades after the mine closed, the federal government has dedicated millions to cleaning up Libby. Thousands have gone ill and hundreds have died from asbestos-related diseases because a dust of asbestos would cover workers, vehicles, buildings, the grass and other parts of Libby when the mine was operating.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released reports after analyzing more than two dozen plants, along with the Libby mine for asbestos exposure. And the Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog has been reporting on these reports to keep readers informed about the potential hazards to asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma in Denver: This Western Minerals Products plant began operations before 1967 and processed vermiculite contaminated with asbestos from the Libby mine until 1990.

According to the CDC, the facility exfoliated vermiculite to manufacture insulation and other products — more than 100,000 tons. And after 1990, the site has been occupied by Minnesota Corn Processors, a corn syrup manufacturer. The area is light industrial with a baseball field to the southeast. In 1990, about 13,000 people lived within a mile; so many people are at risk.

Mesothelioma in New Orleans: This Zonolite Company/W.R. Grace & Company site processed more than 148,000 tons of vermiculite when it operated from 1965 to 1989.

Based on 1990 U.S. Census data, about 5,100 people lived within 1 mile of the site, leading to a risk of exposure.

Mesothelioma in St. Louis: This Zonolite Company site was located within sight of interstates 44 and 64 in southwest St. Louis.

The facility operated from the 1940s to 1988 and processed nearly 140,000 tons of vermiculite from Libby. In 1990, about 13,600 people lived within one mile of the facility.

Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos

  • What is asbestos?
  • Why is asbestos dangerous?
  • What are asbestos-related diseases?
  • What causes mesothelioma?
  • What are the different types of mesothelioma?
  • What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
  • Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
  • What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?
  • Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?

The Ferraro Law Firm provides extensive legal services, including cases related to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Previous Blog Entries:

Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog Spotlights Large Cities at Risk For Asbestos Exposure: June 9, 2011

Mesothelioma Lawyers Continue Blog Series on Asbestos Exposure Sites: June 1, 2011