Miners are some of those most at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases due to exposure at work. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral within our Earth. It was mined extensively in the United States during the early 20th century for use within consumer products and construction materials, and unfortunately is still mined today in many locations outside of the United States.
If asbestos fibers are breathed in by an individual, serious health complications can follow. Unfortunately, miners (like many other professions) come into contact with asbestos in its most dangerous state - when it is dusty. And it is not just asbestos miners who are at serious risk for asbestos related diseases. Those that mined other naturally-occurring minerals within the earth have unknowingly been exposed to asbestos, as well.
Other Natural Minerals Contaminated with Asbestos
Asbestos has been known to contaminate mines used to harvest different naturally-occurring minerals from the earth. In addition to respiratory conditions, these workers are at risk for cancers like mesothelioma due to asbestos contamination.
Many talc mines have veins of asbestos running adjacent to the veins of talc, such that when the talc is removed the asbestos comes right along with it, exposing the miners to asbestos dust. Also, depending on the source mine, asbestos is a known contaminant in many talcum products, including baby powder, body powders, and different cosmetics.
Similar to talc mines, vermiculite mines in the United States have also been known to be contaminated with asbestos, putting miners at risk for exposure. Vermiculite is an ore resembling mica that has been used in housing insulation, fertilizers, cement mixtures, and more. Miners and their families and their neighbors who worked in the vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana, are still experiencing the horrific effects of asbestos exposure today.
Legal Rights of Miners with Mesothelioma
Although there are currently no functioning asbestos or vermiculite mines in the United States, the talc mines are still active, and miners are still at risk for coming into contact with the asbestos. In 2008, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) passed regulations protecting miners from asbestos exposure on the job. The regulations prohibit employers in the mining industry from exposing workers to asbestos levels above 0.1 fiber per cubic meter of air during an 8-hour shift.
If you are a current or retired miner and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma, or you believe you have developed mesothelioma from exposure to talc or vermiculite products contaminated with asbestos, it is advised that you contact an asbestos attorney as soon as possible. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today to determine your legal rights after being exposed to asbestos at work.