CDC Study Illustrates Why Cancer Cluster Victims Receive Higher Settlement Compensation
Illnesses related to asbestos exposure have resulted in complex class action suits and compensation settlements for long suffering victims. Recently a study released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that asbestos exposure victims that were part of an 1960s cancer “cluster” were able to receive some of the most favorable settlement agreements in asbestos exposure claim history.
What is a Cancer Cluster?
A cancer cluster is essentially a defined geographic area or time period within which people are more likely to suffer from cancer. The types of cancers may vary, however; typically in cancer clusters the cancer is caused by exposure to the same type of cancer-causing substance or other constant feature present within the environment. The CDC discovered that the most prevalent mesothelioma cancer clusters were the result of occupational asbestos exposure that occurred during the 1960s.
The CDC considers the 1960s as one of the most important mesothelioma cancer cluster time period in history. During this cancer cluster time period, the use of asbestos in building and construction materials was prevalent and often without regulation. Thousands of cases have been traced to asbestos exposure during this time period by people working in the manufacturing of consumer and industrial products. Asbestos containing products were often used and held at workplaces like power plants, shipyards and oil refineries. These conditions led to a cancer cluster for the 1960s that was not discovered until much later.
The idea that the 1960s was a distinct cancer cluster time period is proven by fact. A mesothelioma diagnosis can take decades to occur. Before diagnosis many people are treated regularly for pneumonia and other lung related illnesses. However, 72 years old is the average age of a diagnosed mesothelioma victim. Such a person would have been in their late teens, or early, mid or late 20s during the 1960s and thus would be considered covered within the 1960s cancer cluster. Many of these mesothelioma sufferers were employed at workplaces with high risks for asbestos exposure. The workers most commonly affected by asbestos exposure during the 1960s include electricians, plumbers, U.S. navy veterans, constructions workers, shipyard workers, and oil refinery workers. Unlike other types of cancer clusters the 1960s mesothelioma cluster is not geographically specific. However, the highest instances of mesothelioma cases attributed to this cancer cluster occurred in Washington, Wyoming, Maine, New Jersey, Florida and West Virginia.
Findings About Cancer Cluster Compensation Trends
The Mesothelioma Victims Center (MVC), an organization devoted to providing advocacy for U.S. victims of asbestos exposure, has been tracking the outcomes of mesothelioma claims for decades. They’ve discovered that workplace occupational mesothelioma exposure compensation claims are some of the best settlement cases. Part of what makes cancer cluster cases from the 1960s time period so effective at receiving higher compensation settlements is that the workplaces where asbestos exposure occurred typically had higher amounts of asbestos than could be discovered in any other environment. A higher instance of asbestos presence is believed to increase the number of people that can end up with asbestos exposure related illnesses like mesothelioma.
While some people have become exposed to asbestos through the home they lived in, these cases often received lower settlements because they typically did not involve the person actually handling asbestos containing materials on a regular basis, which was often the case at the workplaces of the 1960s cancer cluster victims. Furthermore, the cases of mesothelioma that were caused in the 1960s began to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s. As people became more aware of the physical effects of asbestos exposure, more precautions were taken to prevent such illnesses. As a result, exposure levels in workplaces are nowhere near as prevalent as they were during the 1960s.
Concerned that you may be a victim of occupational asbestos exposure? Contact an asbestos exposure attorney today for any advice or assistance that you may need.