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Last Modified January 28, 2022
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Quick Facts About Asbestos in Tennessee
  • Ranking in Deaths:
    17th
  • Mesothelioma Deaths:
    491
  • Asbestosis Deaths:
    121
  • Total Deaths:
    612

About Tennessee

The impact of decades of asbestos exposure on countless Tennessee residents cannot fully be understood yet, as the latency period for mesothelioma is typically between 20 and 50 years. Doctors and scientists at the state’s cancer facilities continue to research potential cures and treatments for all asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis and lung cancer.

Because of the negligence of many manufacturing and industrial companies, potential lawsuits and legal action may still be pursued. Attorneys assisting clients in filing claims against employers may help mesothelioma patients and others recoup burdensome medical costs. State and federal health agencies continue to address the health risks of exposure to asbestos fibers as natural disasters reveal how much asbestos still exists in residential and commercial buildings.

Environmental Areas at Risk

Chattanooga and surrounding areas

In April 2011, a large EF5 tornado swept through the heavy populated areas of seven states, including Tennessee, killing a total of more than 300 people and destroying entire neighborhoods of homes and local businesses. While Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was hit the hardest, the damage caused by the storm posed health risks to Tennessee’s residents who were left with large amounts of debris to clean up and homes to rebuild. Because asbestos materials were widely used in residential and commercial buildings in Tennessee until the 1980s, health officials said there was a high chance that asbestos was present in the wreckage. Exposure to asbestos in Tennessee and the other states hit by the tornado goes beyond the fibers present in the debris. As no laws dictate how asbestos should be removed and disposed from single-family homes that were damaged from natural disasters, residents are concerned about the risk of inhaling airborne fibers as homeowners begin the rebuilding process.

Nashville

In May 2010, a devastating flood ran through Nashville and other small towns in central Tennessee, damaging more than 11,000 properties. The Nashville Mayor’s Office Recovery Team urged homeowners to take precautions when removing flood debris and repairing or rebuilding damaged homes because asbestos materials were likely present in homes and other buildings constructed before the 1980s. The team suggested calling asbestos abatement professionals instead because the potential risk to others was so high.

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Treatment Centers near Tennessee

2220 Pierce Avenue, Nashville, TN 37232Doctors in Hospital: 8
1588 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104Doctors in Hospital: 1
250 25th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37203Doctors in Hospital: 4
250 25th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37203Doctors in Hospital: 4
1824 6th Ave S. Birmingham, AL 35233Doctors in Hospital: 6
1365C Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322Doctors in Hospital: 4
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Doctors in Tennessee

Robert Ramirez
Medical Oncologist
Eric S. Lambright
Thoracic Surgeon
Matthew Ballo
Radiation Oncologist
Evan Osmundson
Radiation Oncologist
Sally J. York
Medical Oncologist
Michael Neuss
Medical Oncologist
Leora Horn
Thoracic Oncologist
David R. Spigel
Medical Oncologist
Michel Kuzur
Medical Oncologist
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Damage from 2010 Flood Closes Nashville Church Doors for Asbestos Removal

The Rose of Sharon Primitive Baptist Church in North Nashville was inundated by two feet of brackish water during the flood. After the waters receded, congregants began the recovery process. As they cleared away carpets, pews and drywall, they experienced respiratory and skin problems, so they called a halt to the renovation efforts and called the code enforcement agency, who found that the building contained asbestos and other contaminants. The church members were stunned to discover that they were handling damaged asbestos products and putting others in the neighborhood at risk, as well, since the fibers were friable and airborne. That’s when they decided to call a professional asbestos abatement service to handle the removal and disposal of the hazardous materials. It took almost a year to remove all the asbestos from the church.

The Nashville Flood Recovery Website has more information about the recovery process, which is still underway as of October 2011.

Jobsites with Known Asbestos Exposure:

  • Erachem Comilog, Inc.
  • Thyssen-Dover Elevator facility
  • Franklin Milll (International Paper)
  • Mueller Company Plant
  • American Smelting and Refining Company
  • Combustion Engineering

Asbestos Litigation in Tennessee

Jury Awards Widow $1.4 Million in Lawsuit against Asbestos Manufacturer

Judge holding a gavel

The widow of a former Chattanooga pipefitter won a verdict against the manufacturer of asbestos-containing equipment for $1.4 million. In 2009, Marian Jackson sued North Brothers for providing asbestos-laced materials to her husband’s employer. Philip Jackson had worked as a pipefitter with Combustion Engineering for more than 30 years. During his career, Jackson worked with North Brothers products that contained asbestos, which led to Jackson’s death from mesothelioma in September 2009.

Asbestos Litigation Trends in Tennessee

Tennessee legislators passed a law in May 2021 affording asbestos plaintiffs 30 days to submit evidence supporting inclusion of each defendant named in a lawsuit. The legislation allows for dismissal of claims that do not provide enough evidence within 30 days of filing.

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued a ruling in January 2021 supporting the “bare metal” defense under the Tennessee Products Liability Act. The court held that defendants should not be held liable for asbestos replacement parts that cause illness.


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