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Talk to Terrie: Department of Labor Reopens Some Claims – Helpful Hints for Asbestos Related Disease Claims

June 4, 2019

June 4, 2019

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You may remember that the Department of Labor (DOL) accepted the recommendations made by the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health concerning asbestos related diseases.  DOL also added two chemicals responsible for two diseases.  The changes are:

  • Reduced the days of aggregate exposure to asbestos from 250 days to 30 days and the latency period from 30 years to 15 years for mesothelioma.
  • Reduced the latency period for exposure to asbestos from 20 years to 15 years for ovarian cancer.
  • Reduced the latency period for exposure to asbestos from 20 years to 10 years for pleural plaques.
  • Added Benzidine as an agent related to bladder cancer.
  • Added Carbon Disulfide and n-Hexane as agents related to hearing loss.
  • Added a presumption about lung cancer related to asbestos exposure.

DOL began reviewing previously denied claims based on these changes in January 2019.  I learned this week that one claimant had her claim automatically reopened.  Such great news!

Unlike a claim which is reopened when a new Special Exposure Cohort is granted, reopening of these claims may require the claimant to provide evidence that they were exposed to asbestos, especially if they were employed after 1986.  DOL presumes that only certain labor categories were exposed on a daily basis to asbestos prior to 1986.

But that doesn’t mean workers were not exposed after 1986 and it may not be too difficult for claimants to provide evidence to DOL.

For instance, Ted Ziegler, former Rocky Flats worker, provided a list to the Energy Employees Claimants Assistance Project which details the areas where asbestos was still present in 1992.

I found documents for other sites which shows the presence of asbestos after 1986:

I used Google Scholar for the search and used “asbestos abatement at <name of site>” for the search term.  Another possibility is to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Energy requesting a copy of an inventory of asbestos at your site for the years you were employed.