The health risks of asbestos have been widely known for decades, yet many industries and businesses continued to use asbestos for years after the risks were made public. Now, decades after exposure, many people across the nation are discovering that asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma are on the rise. Iowa ranks 28th in the nation for asbestos-related deaths, and at least 374 people died of mesothelioma in Iowa between 1999 and 2013.
Mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses often leave victims and their families with more questions than answers. Here is information about the disease and how it occurs, potential sites of asbestos exposure in Iowa, where to get medical help and support for mesothelioma, and how mesothelioma sufferers and their families can seek compensation in a court of law.
What Is Mesothelioma and What Causes It?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer most always caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common form is called pleural mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the lungs and is directly linked to inhalation of asbestos fibers. Pericardial mesothelioma attacks a thin layer of tissue around the heart called the pericardium. Peritoneal mesothelioma can occur when mesothelioma attacks the lining of the abdominal cavity. Any other part of the body that contains a mesothelial lining such as the testicles in men is potentially susceptible to the disease, as well.
Mesothelioma is an insidious disease that isn’t usually diagnosed until decades after the exposure to asbestos occurs. Once a person shows symptoms of mesothelioma, the condition is usually fatal, and the long-term survival chances are low. Even if mesothelioma is diagnosed at the very earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is as low as 16 percent. Death within one to two years is typical, although life expectancy varies greatly depending on the facts of each individual case.
Asbestos Exposure Sites in Iowa
Asbestos is found in the earth in natural deposits. It is composed of a family of silica-based minerals, and it can be found in natural veins or mixed with other types of minerals or metal ores such as talc, copper, manganese, and lead.
Asbestos has been valued both industrially and commercially due to a natural abundance of the mineral, its low cost, and several properties that make it ideal for many uses. It works as a good electrical insulator and as a thermal insulator, and it is highly resistant to both fire and many chemicals used in industry, manufacturing, and construction. Some potential sources of exposure to asbestos in Iowa include:
Plaster And Drywall Industries
Companies such as National Gypsum Company in Fort Dodge were known to manufacture gypsum products such as drywall and plaster and had a history of making products with asbestos and using asbestos-bearing products in manufacturing.
There are no known asbestos deposits in Iowa, but farm workers still face the risk of exposure due to the use of asbestos-containing materials in heavy farm machinery such as pumps, trucks, and tractors, where parts such as gaskets and brake pad linings are still often made of asbestos or asbestos-containing material.
Military And Veterans
Veterans and others who have worked closely with the military on bases and at military facilities in Iowa are at a particularly high risk of asbestos-related diseases. The military has a long history of using asbestos and asbestos-containing materials in construction, including ceiling tiles, wall insulation, flooring, and caulking, as well as in the construction and maintenance of many specialty military vehicles and equipment.
There are many potential sites for exposure to asbestos in Iowa, including the following locations, facilities, or companies:
- Chevron Chemical
- Dupont Chemical
- Fort Neil Army Base
- General Mills
- Interstate Pipe & Supply
- Iowa Power & Light
- Iowa Steel & Iron
- J.W. Davis Company
- Sioux City Coal & Gas
Where to Get Treatment for Mesothelioma in Iowa
There is no known cure for mesothelioma. However, seeking treatment can offer many benefits for patients and their families, including both prolonging life and increasing the quality of life for sufferers. Many hospitals and treatment facilities also include support groups that can help patients and provide their families with comfort in a time of need. The following facilities may be able to offer treatment or other help for mesothelioma victims in Iowa:
200 Hawkins Dr
Iowa City, IA 52242
230 Nebraska St.
Sioux City, IA 51101
1220 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Patients and families may also wish to contact the American Cancer Society to find connections to services in their local area that may be able to help with medical supplies, transportation, emotional support, and other issues that affect those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
Legal Help for Mesothelioma Victims in Iowa
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you have a legal right to seek compensation in a court of law. Every state has different laws surrounding personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits and the legal timeframe in which a victim or a family has to make a claim. In Iowa, mesothelioma sufferers have two years from the date of initial diagnosis to begin a lawsuit. Family members have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit beginning on the date of death.
However, it’s important to realize that mesothelioma is a fast-moving disease. It leaves little time for those who have been diagnosed to seek legal remedy, so acting sooner rather than later can be important. They attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault know that mesothelioma patients and their families need legal help right away, and we are here to serve you. We work closely with mesothelioma patients and their families to get them the justice they deserve in a court of law, and we work on a contingency basis—there are no up-front costs, and our clients don’t owe us until a settlement is reached.
To arrange your free consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals, contact us online or call our office directly at 318.588.6303.