The number of women dying of malignant mesothelioma has been climbing since 1999, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study. Over the past two decades, the number of deaths due to mesothelioma has increased 25%. This includes 489 women succumbing to the disease in 1999 and 614 dying from this aggressive cancer in 2020. (1)
The largest number of mesothelioma deaths was attributed to women who were identified as homemakers, nearly 23%. Women who had worked in health care and social assistance occupations also represent a large percentage of mesothelioma related deaths, close to 16%. Slightly more than 10% were schoolteachers or registered nurses. (2)
Many women contract mesothelioma from caring for their family and washing their husband’s asbestos-covered clothes. Other work in old buildings with asbestos that were being remodeled. Or in the office of companies involved with asbestos in some way.
Government Agencies Recognize Asbestos Risk
Even though the United States no longer mines asbestos, companies still import it and use it. In addition, some activities, such as home remodeling and demolition of older buildings, put people’s lives at risk.
Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognize and acknowledge the debilitating “asbestos-related respiratory diseases and cancers” linked to asbestos exposure. Both organizations regulate its use. (3)
However, even though the use of asbestos has declined sharply, the CDC’s findings suggest “mesothelioma deaths among women [will] continue to increase.” (4)
Possible Asbestos Ban Is Years Away
“Just a couple months ago, the EPA proposed a ban on asbestos,” says Weitz & Luxenberg partner Charles Ferguson, chair of the firm’s asbestos department. “Even if it succeeds, the ban wouldn’t go into effect for at least a couple years.”
Mr. Ferguson emphasizes, “In the meantime, hundreds of people will be diagnosed with this debilitating form of cancer. It is incredibly sad to see the number of women patients increasing. Each mesothelioma diagnosis harms not only the victim, but multiple family members, friends, and other loved ones. Each life lost is one too many.”
The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos isn’t just an irritant. It’s a cancer-causing agent. Even limited, short-term exposure to asbestos fibers can be deadly.
If you inhale the fibers, they can settle and accumulate in your lungs. Years later, you could be diagnosed with any number of debilitating illnesses. One of these is mesothelioma.
Symptoms may take decades to show themselves. By the time you receive a diagnosis, your prognosis will likely be poor.
W&L Continues the Fight for People Getting Sick
Weitz & Luxenberg was founded in the mid-1980s specifically to help people harmed by asbestos exposure. For decades, companies and industries have turned a blind eye to workers’ safety. As a result, thousands of people have developed devastating diseases due to asbestos exposure over the years.
But W&L has always been there. We’ve made it our mission to fight for people who have been harmed by the negligent, sometimes ruthless, actions of others.
Over the years, we have represented tens of thousands of clients across the country. And we’re not about to stop.
Major Asbestos Lawsuit Wins for Women
W&L has won multiple trial verdicts for clients diagnosed with asbestos exposure related diseases. For example, a jury awarded five of our clients a total of $190 million in a consolidated landmark trial for victims of mesothelioma. All of our clients worked in blue-collar industries.
We also achieved our largest ever single-case win, $75 million, on behalf of a female client. She developed mesothelioma through daily secondary exposure. This happened because she laundered the clothes covered in asbestos dust that her husband wore home at the end of each workday.
In a similar case, W&L won $43 million on behalf of a female client of ours. She developed mesothelioma after years of exposure to asbestos from her husband’s contaminated work clothes.
We secured a $23 million verdict on behalf of yet another female client. Although she worked in an office, she was exposed to asbestos daily while collecting soil tickets from workstations at an industrial laundry facility.