Mississippi is not considered particularly rife with asbestos risks, but all homes and structures built before 1980 are very likely to be contaminated with asbestos building materials. The aftermath of hurricane Katrina made this apparent after the destruction destroyed many homes and exposed previously non-friable deposits of asbestos. Those that worked with asbestos deposits constantly, either in industry or construction has much higher rates of developing cancers and other illnesses, so those that have been subject to exposure should monitor their health and quit smoking, as this adds dramatically to the chances of developing cancer.
How does asbestos affect the human body?
Asbestos lodges itself in the lungs of the unsuspecting person. These fibers are tiny but do not break down unless under extreme heat. They will not be removed either. The particles are sure to cause asbestos related illnesses a few decades later. When these diseases occur, the lungs will gradually harden with scar tissue, as the asbestos particles have never stopped damaging the lining. Lung function will decrease due to the loss of elasticity, fluid will not drain effectively and the victim will cough up blood. Mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining, happens only when there is asbestos exposure and the mortality rate from this cancer is very high.
How do I know if I have asbestos in my home?
Laboratory testing will be the only way to verify if you have asbestos fibers in your home. In some cases, if large fibers break off, this will be a visible emission and will be evidence of contamination. In all other cases, determining suspect material and having it inspected will be the only way to determine if you have asbestos.
Can I file for asbestos litigation in Mississippi?
Mississippi is a state likely to strengthen its personal injury lawsuit control laws, limiting damages and claims that can be made, as well as liability. Plaintiffs have had to struggle to make their case in court, although some have been successful. A recent record breaking settlement for asbestos litigation was invalidated by the court due to apparent biases by the judge and is pending a new trial. Punitive damages is one area in particular that may be particularly limited by Mississippi tort law.
What agency enforces Mississippi asbestos laws?
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality bears the responsibility or accrediting and certifying asbestos experts to perform asbestos abatement. In addition, the DEQ will collect information on demolitions and renovations, ensuring these projects are safe before they are approved. This is not necessary for single family homes. No structures may be burned for demolition or fire training if it contains asbestos, as this facilitates the spread of the dangerous fibers.