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The ongoing legal battle against asbestos in Montana

August 8, 2017 |

Long-term breathing of the fibers contained in asbestos can cause very serious diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. It also causes cancer of the larynx, pharynx, colorectum, stomach and ovary. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, older houses in Montana continue to contain asbestos derived from earlier mining days.

The Montana Standard reports that the Environmental Protection Agency may not be alerting thousands of homeowners potentially at risk of the dangers of asbestos lurking still in their homes as quickly as many would want. It notes that the CDC and the EPA have studies confirming that asbestos had a role in more than 480 deaths in Libby, Montana, and surrounding areas. Moreover, those suffering from asbestos related symptomology exceed 8,000 people. Jean Pfau, an immunologist at MSU in Bozeman, Montana, connects rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other conditions to asbestosis as well.

It is important for those possibly affected to know that there is a statute of limitations in pursuing a claim for asbestos related cancers, just as there is for all personal injury claims. However, because the damage from asbestos may grow gradually and not be readily apparent until years after exposure, cancers like mesothelioma have a time limit that does not start until a person discovers the disease.

However, it may also be wise to regularly order and retain all of your medical records from your providers now if you believe you had previous or current exposure to asbestos while the records exist and remain available. For those who worked with asbestos products, maintaining notes or information about employers and the types of products one dealt with may be helpful in the unfortunate event one may become ill and need to file a claim.