Asbestos Exposure in Mississippi
Asbestos is a bundle of six minerals that were once used in many industries because of their durability, cost-effectiveness, and resistance to electricity, fire, and chemical corrosion. Due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi has an abundance of oil refineries and shipyards – two industries that primarily used the mineral in their plants and factories. Today, Mississippi ranks 24th in the US for asbestos exposure, with approximately 100 deaths from asbestos-related conditions each year.
A naturally occurring element, asbestos can be found in many environmental, occupational, and residential settings. As with most pollutants, some locations have higher-risk for exposure than others. These areas can be broken down into two categories: environmental and occupational.
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Within an individual’s environment, the substance can be found underground in soil or rock. Usually, the mineral is so far deep into the earth’s surface that exposure isn’t that much of a risk. It’s only when its fibers are disturbed and expelled into the environment that they become dangerous.
Hurricane Katrina was a giant catalyst for the disturbance of asbestos in Mississippi, as well as the neighboring state, Louisiana, the primary area affected. After the hurricane subsided, several homes and old structures were damaged, exposing residents and cleanup crews to the toxic dust. After the event, the EPA and other organizations made many evaluations and analyses of areas to try and determine the level of risk for exposure (such as take samples of sediment and soil, water, and air). Still, there’s always a risk for exposure around the Mississippi coast.
Fondren, a district in Mississippi, also contained contaminated structures. This area was slated for construction of a new Hilton hotel until complaints about asbestos in buildings scheduled for demolition to make room for the hotel began to surface. Investigators eventually found that contaminants were adequately removed from these structures, but not before demolition began, making it possible that the fibers were spread to other locations.
Since asbestos was utilized in many industries, it’s commonly found in certain job sites. Some occupations with a high risk of exposure include:
- Construction workers
- Boiler workers
- Drywall installers
- First responders/ EMTs
- Plant and factory workers
- Sailors and shipyard workers
- Steel mill crew
Specifically in Mississippi, sites in the Fondren district had issues with the toxin in the past as well as Armstrong World Industries, formerly known as Armstrong Cork Company.
Some contaminated landfills in Mississippi are:
- Attala County
- Canton Sanitary
- Forrest County
- Hinds County Sanitary
- Jackson County Sanitary
- Magee Solid Waste Disposal Facility
- Oxford Sanitary
- Quitman County Sanitary
- West Point Sanitary
After researchers discovered that asbestos was harmful to health, organizations began to develop laws that regulate exposure to the mineral. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are all governmental organizations that establish and regulate laws on asbestos as well as other toxic substances.
The most recent, impactful set of regulations passed on asbestos is known as the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and it was passed in 2018. These laws place accountability in the hands of the building owners, managers, and contractors. They are required to provide notification for any construction, demolition, or renovation on any known asbestos-structures, conduct thorough asbestos inspections, follow specific work procedures, and to arrange proper asbestos removal.
Mississippi State Regulations
The state has a department dedicated to protecting Mississippi residents by conserving and improving the environment and cultivating economic health through research and regulation. They are known as the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and they have their own standards on the proper handling of asbestos.
The MDEQ regulations all demolition and construction projects that may release asbestos fibers into the air. Owners and operators must properly inspect sites, used asbestos inspectors certified by the MDEQ, follow mandatory asbestos alerts, and adhere to asbestos control standards and procedures.
Legal Recourse for Patients
If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos while on the job and developed mesothelioma or other related condition, you could be entitled to financial compensation from the employer or product’s company for negligence. Talk to an experienced mesothelioma attorney about the details surrounding your illness and exposure, and they can tell you if you have grounds for a legal case and how best to move forward.
Cancer Treatment Centers Near Mississippi
It can be beneficial for patients to visit a cancer treatment center near their home. This will ensure they get care from experienced doctors who have treated patients with similar illnesses. Mississippi does not have any cancer treatment centers, so we’ve provided you with treatment centers bordering the state Mississippi include:
O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center
Main #: (205) 975 8222
Toll-Free: (800) 822 0933
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
General Information: (901) 595-3300
Appointments and Referrals: 1-866-278-5833