Approximately 10.5 square miles of Fairfax County, VA, a highly populated area adjacent to Washington, DC, contains ‘problem soils,’ which include naturally occurring asbestos.
Fairfax County builders have to be wary of disturbing soils containing natural asbestos, and introducing asbestos fibers into the air can increase the risk of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that attacks the outside of the lungs.
Areas that contain asbestos-containing rock include:
· East of Jermantown Road, north of the Fairfax City border. This includes I-66 and part of the ramp from Route 123 to I-66 westbound. This could cause issues when I-66 is widened in the future.
· Small areas both north and south of I-66 near the Route 50 interchange.
Fairfax County has known about this asbestos problem for close to 30 years. A paper published in 1993 by C. James Dusek and John Yetman, a pair of air pollution control specialists in the Fairfax County Health Department, stated that asbestos rock was found when a parking garage was being constructed in Fairfax County.
The paper noted that rock was drilled and crushed, which caused dust all over the construction site. Several employees started to itch and have irritated skin. It was found that the area was rife with tremolite asbestos fibers.
Today, the state of Virginia has strict environmental rules on building in places known to have problem soils. It is required to have air monitoring, dust control and overall worker protection from asbestos and other problem soils.
The rock is not dangerous as long as it is undisturbed, but problems can arise for both workers and the local population when construction projects get underway.
Mesothelioma is a cruel cancer that is exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, usually in a work situation. In some cases, local residents adjacent to a job site also could be exposed to asbestos fibers in the air.
Our mesothelioma lawyers have long seen how many companies will try to ignore the safety implications of working with asbestos. We normally specialize in mesothelioma cases involving railroad workers. Many railroads knew for years that asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma years after the exposure. We once had a mesothelioma case where the worker was a railroad worker for 36 years. He was offered early retirement in 1989, and the company even had him sign a letter that would hold the company blameless from future lawsuits. The first judge threw the case out based upon that letter.
However, our experience as mesothelioma attorneys made us keep fighting. We appealed and after years of work, we eventually reached a settlement with the railroad.