Texas is ranked 4th in the United States for mesothelioma deaths. This aggressive cancer is almost always caused by asbestos exposure, and those diagnosed with mesothelioma usually have only a short time to live. From 1999 – 2015, nearly 2,200 Texans died from this disease. Texas has eight known asbestos sites, and from 2000 to 2009, Jefferson and Orange counties saw the highest death rates than anywhere in the state.
Asbestos and the Connection to Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a group of six of naturally occurring minerals that all share the same type of heat resistant qualities. Strong, durable, and able to resist many chemical breakdowns, asbestos was known as a “miracle mineral,” and its fibers were used for decades in thousands of consumer products, including plastic, paper, brakes, insulation, and roofing tiles. Given the number of goods that were manufactured with asbestos, many jobs and work environments put employees at risk for exposure to this highly toxic material.
Because asbestos can be deadly if inhaled or ingested, those who worked with this mineral or around it were at risk for developing mesothelioma—the link between this medical condition and asbestos was discovered in the 1960s. Even secondary exposure was toxic. This type of exposure occurred when men who worked in asbestos mines carried the cancerous fibers home on their clothes, coats, and shoes, endangering family members.
Microscopic asbestos fibers can’t be seen, making it practically impossible to know if you’re carrying them on your clothing or inhaling them. Once they get inside the body, they often lodge themselves in the mesothelium—the tissue surrounding some of the body’s organs. Usually, mesothelioma starts in the chest lining called the pleura. After many years, sometimes decades, the fibers that have been lodged in the mesothelium cause damage to the body’s cells.
After being exposed to asbestos, it can take years, even decades, for a person to exhibit symptoms of mesothelioma. And once the patient presents symptoms, there are many reasons why doctors might misdiagnose this condition, mistaking it for another, including:
- The symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to symptoms of other conditions. For example, a patient suffering from muscle weakness, exhaustion, a dry cough, night sweats, and fluid around the lung might appear to have characteristics of some type of respiratory condition.
- The disease doesn’t present as a tumor. Doctors usually find it after it’s metastasized into one of the body’s organs.
- The disease can be dormant for years, even decades, before a patient exhibits symptoms.
Texas Asbestos Sites and Industries
Mesothelioma most often affects employees who worked in industries with an increased risk of asbestos exposure. In Texas, deaths due to this aggressive cancer are high because there are many industries in the state where asbestos was used. Here is a look at some of them:
Because the southeastern portion of Texas borders the Gulf of Mexico, a major industry includes shipbuilding and related services. More than 12 shipyard companies, including Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corporation, Port Adams Shipyard, and American Bridge Shipyard have employed workers along the coast to maintain, build, and repair ships. Those employed at these sites were likely exposed to asbestos.
Many cities in Texas, including Houston and Dallas, employ thousands of people in oil refineries—a large industry in the state. Because of the heat-resistant characteristics of asbestos and its ability to withstand many chemical reactions, this material was used in the construction of most oil refineries.
Most of the buildings used by manufacturing companies were made with asbestos, and the equipment used to make products often contained this material, also. Chevron Phillips Plastics and Pathfinder manufacturing are two companies that may have exposed its workers to asbestos.
There are many chemical plants in Texas, and most of them have used asbestos in the construction of their facilities, in the equipment they use, and even the clothing worn by employees to protect from heat and chemicals. Nalco Chemical Plant, Dow Chemical, and Phillips Chemical Company are a few of the corporations that may have exposed its workers to asbestos.
Approximately one-third of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are U.S. veterans. Asbestos was widely used in the military, and those at the highest risk of exposure worked in the Navy due to jobs on and for ships and aircrafts. Naval Station Ingleside in Corpus Christi and Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin are sites known for exposing workers to asbestos.
Texas Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
If you believe you have mesothelioma, it’s important to work with a doctor who is skilled in treating this deadly cancer. Working with a specialist can help you manage your symptoms and determine the best course of action for long-term care. Here are a few mesothelioma cancer centers in Texas:
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Houston, TX 77030
Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, Mail Stop BCM 390
Houston, TX 77030
Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
6000 Harry Hines Blvd. NB8.206
Dallas, TX 75390
Scott & White Healthcare
2401 South 31st Street
Temple, TX 76508
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center
7979 Wurzbach Road
San Antonio, TX 78229
Contact Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
Texans diagnosed with mesothelioma face expensive medical treatment and a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, so it’s important to contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer as soon as you’re diagnosed. Our attorneys can help get you the compensation you deserve and hold the negligent companies accountable for your asbestos exposure. Don’t miss the filing deadline after learning you have mesothelioma. If you do, you’ll forfeit your right to compensation.
Living with mesothelioma is not easy for you or your family, but we can help. We handle asbestos-exposure cases on a contingency fee basis—which means you owe no out-of-pocket expenses and will pay attorney fees only when we settle your claim. To learn more about our experience in these cases and your legal options, contact us online or call our office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.