Wyoming has one of the highest incidence rates of mesothelioma is the nation, with between 15-20 people out of every million suffering from the disease. As this deadly form of cancer is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, it is not surprising that so many former oil, power, and industrial workers find themselves diagnosed with mesothelioma after retirement.
Unlike other states, Wyoming does not have its own regulatory agency to issue licenses and require registration for professionals and companies that use asbestos during regular or specialized activities. Although there is no state-regulated program, Wyoming does require that any worker who handles asbestos complete a training course in EPA-approved asbestos handling and disposal. Of course, many employees have been exposed unknowingly, placing the burden of training on employers who may have favored profits over employee health.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is vital that you speak to an attorney who has experience handling asbestos lawsuits. Contact the mesothelioma attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault today, or learn more about options in our free eBook, Mesothelioma and Your Legal Rights.
How Patients Are First Exposed to Asbestos in Wyoming
Although the federal government has strict regulations on the use and disposal of asbestos today, this wasn’t always the case. Workers who were exposed to asbestos in the past may not begin to show symptoms of mesothelioma until thirty, forty, or fifty years after working near the hazardous mineral. As a result, many people are not sure when or where they were first exposed to asbestos.
Employees and their families are likely to suffer asbestos exposure in the following industries:
- Mining. Wyoming has extensive mining operations, producing nearly half of all coal and uranium ore in the United States. While any subterranean mining operation has the capacity to expose workers to asbestos, Wyoming’s vermiculite processing plants are particularly likely to place workers in danger. One well-known case of exposure involved the W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana, which shipped over 8,000 tons of vermiculite contaminated with asbestos to processing plants in Wyoming.
- Power plants. Power plants rely on asbestos to insulate the floors, pipes, boilers, and walls from high heat. Companies such as Carbon Creek Energy, Devon Energy Production Company, and Exxon Mobil rely on asbestos insulation to prevent fires during power generation, placing workers at daily risk of inhaling the tiny particles of the fibrous material.
- Oil and gas refineries. Wyoming is a major petroleum producer, with refineries such as Frontier Refining Company and Husky Oil Company employing hundreds of workers across the state. The oil industry is well-known for insulating pipes, machinery, and wires with asbestos to protect workers from fires and explosions.
- Manufacturing. Northern Lights Energy Companies, Inc. and other steel and aluminum manufacturers may rely on asbestos to prevent spark fires or even use it in industrial products.
- Chemical plants. While many plants rely on asbestos for its heat-shielding properties, it is also resistant to many chemical reactions. This makes it invaluable to Allied Chemical Plant and other producers of sodium carbonate, or soda ash, which is used in commercial soap-making and glass production.
- Schools. Teachers and students may have suffered asbestos exposure while attending the University of Wyoming. In 2009, the school received a violation from the Department of Environmental Quality because the administration failed to properly conduct inspections for asbestos. Although the school performed asbestos removal in many of its buildings on campus, an inspection months after renovation discovered lingering traces of asbestos.
- Family contact. Workers in the above industries, as well as construction workers, plumbers, or mechanics, often unknowingly placed their families at risk by carrying asbestos fibers home in their work clothes. Known as secondary exposure, this form of contracting mesothelioma most commonly affected children (who crawled on carpets) and wives or daughters (who laundered asbestos-tainted clothing).
Medical Treatment and Support for Wyoming Mesothelioma Patients
Wyoming patients have access to several highly-rated cancer centers that can provide surgery, chemotherapy, and other standard interventions. Patients who choose to get specialized mesothelioma treatments should know that a former employer may be ordered to pay for the costs of their medical care, as well as the costs of travel to see the specialist of their choice.
Top-rated Wyoming mesothelioma treatment centers include:
- Wyoming Medical Center. Oncologists and staff at this facility in Casper provide treatment to thousands of Wyoming residents each year. WMC is partnered with Rocky Mountain Oncology (RMOC) to provide state-of-the-art radiation therapy, chemotherapy, physical therapy, and other proven treatments. The hospital also hosts a cancer support group for all patients and survivors, as well as offering alternative treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy.
- Welch Cancer Center. The Welch Cancer Center in Sheridan has one of the most comprehensive cancer programs in Wyoming, combining the latest technologies with experimental and alternative treatments. The facility combines an infusion center, radiation center, and oncology pharmacy all in its outpatient cancer clinic, making it as convenient as possible for patients to get the care they need. Patients can also take advantage of in-hospital support programs, including social workers, home care, rehabilitation, and dedicated cancer support groups.
Wyoming Residents May File Asbestos Claims Against Former Employers
Wyoming allows mesothelioma patients one of the longest time limits on filing an asbestos lawsuit in the entire U.S. The statute of limitations allows a person to file a claim up to 4 years from the date of diagnosis, while families who have lost a relative to mesothelioma have 2 years from the date of death to file suit. However, due to the complex nature of these cases and the demands of treatment, it is best to file a claim as quickly as possible.
If you are struggling after a mesothelioma diagnosis, it will cost you nothing to learn more about your options. The asbestos attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win compensation for your illness. Simply fill out the contact form on this page, or call us to schedule a free consultation today.