01. Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos Exposure in Flint, Michigan
Flint buildings built before 1980 are most likely to contain asbestos. As these structures age, asbestos may become worn or damaged. Fibers can then be released into the air and inhaled or ingested. Any amount of asbestos exposure can lead to the development of an asbestos disease, such as malignant mesothelioma.
Historical Flint, Michigan Buildings and Asbestos
The city of Flint was established in 1819 and saw the largest population boom in the early 1900s. As a result, many prominent structures in Flint were built before the dangers of asbestos became well-known.
Many of these structures now require renovations or demolition. These large-scale projects raise concerns about asbestos exposure.
Instances of asbestos and historical buildings in Flint include:
- The Ramada Inn
- The Meijer store
- The Genesee County Administration Building
The Ramada Inn and Meijer store both underwent asbestos abatement before demolitions. These structures were considered landmarks to Flint residents, as Flint is a relatively small city. Both buildings were located in Flint, across the road from one another. Their demolition was part of a town cleanup effort. Funding was allocated specifically to asbestos remediation.
Officials recognized the potential of asbestos in the Genesee County Administration Building. To ensure safety during renovations, they hired an asbestos testing company to inspect the structure. The company conducted a survey to identify areas that may contain asbestos.
Professionals found chrysotile and amosite asbestos fibers in many products, including:
- Boiler components
- Fireproof doors
- Mud insulation
- Spray-on fireproof surfacing materials
- Water tank insulation
The building was constructed in 1969 with cosmetic renovations in 1981. Any materials incorporated in the 1981 renovation were not tested. By this time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had set asbestos regulations. The testing company assumed the new building materials would contain asbestos alternatives to comply with these regulations.
Flint, Michigan Schools and Asbestos
The safety of children in Flint has been of high concern to state officials. The Flint drinking water crisis exposed children to high levels of lead. With a history of toxic exposure, health officials have expressed the need for a larger focus on asbestos safety. Asbestos in schools is of particular concern.
As schools age, asbestos could pose a risk to custodial workers, administrative staff, educators and students. Many schools were constructed before the establishment of asbestos regulations. Asbestos was incorporated in ceilings, floors, walls and other building materials.
Flint city officials have ordered asbestos abatement within older buildings, including schools. The goal of the abatement order is to protect children from further toxic exposure.
Flint, Michigan Schools and Asbestos Abatement
The Carman-Ainsworth Community School district demonstrates how Flint schools are managing the risk of asbestos. The district complies with the EPA’s Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA).
Asbestos safety measures executed by the school district include:
- Conducting six-month periodic surveillance
- Conducting three-year re-inspections of all assumed asbestos-containing materials (ACMs)
- Performing asbestos abatement prior to renovations, as needed
- Providing a Public Annual Asbestos Notification to inform the public of the latest asbestos happenings
The latest Public Annual Asbestos Notification noted asbestos floor tiles were removed at Dye Elementary and Rankin Elementary. Asbestos products were also removed at C-A High School, C-A Middle School and Randels Elementary. All abatement was done in compliance with asbestos regulations.
The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) has raised concerns about asbestos removal in Michigan. The Genesee County Land Bank Asbestos Removal Program operating in Flint, MI was of particular concern. The program was involved with school demolitions, including the demolition of Clark Elementary in 2014.
SIGTARP is a federal law enforcement agency. The agency monitors financial institution crime, fraud, waste and abuse related to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
SIGTARP released an audit in 2017 noting their concerns around the Genesee County Land Bank operations. The agency noted a lack of regulations and quality assurance around waste handling and disposal. It was particularly concerned about demolitions in Flint. SIGTARP asserted Flint residents deserved to feel safe, especially after the drinking water crisis.
Other Flint, Michigan Asbestos Exposure Sites
Retired Flint GM employees claim furnaces and exhaust stacks pumped toxins from within the building into the outdoor air. As a result, workers and nearby residents could have been exposed to asbestos and other carcinogens.
There are many other schools, buildings and worksites in Flint proven to contain asbestos. One of the larger examples is General Motors. The well-known company was founded in Flint, giving the city the nickname “Vehicle City.” It later established locations across the United States.
The automotive industry frequently used asbestos. Asbestos could be found in brake pads, clutch linings, fume hoods and other parts subject to friction and high heat. As a result, Flint General Motors employees could have been exposed to asbestos.
Aside from the General Motors facility, there are several other worksites that have led to instances of asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure at any of these sites could lead to the development of asbestos illnesses. Asbestos-related diseases include lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Asbestos Risks at Flint, Michigan Work Sites
- A.C. Powerhouse
- A.C. Spark Plug Company
- AC Spark Plug
- Ainsworth School
- Apartment Complex
- Atherton East Elementary
- Beecher Machine Shop
- Beecher School
- Beecher Senior High
- Bendell School
- Buick Plant
- Cadillac Plastic and Chemical
- Central High School
- Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan
- Chevrolet New Personnel Building
- Citizens Bank
- Civic Park School
- Corunna Road TT
- Dee Cramer, Inc.
- Dort Elementary School
- Dort Motor Car Company
- Dover & Company
- Dow Chemical Company
- DuPont Chemical
- Dye Junior High School
- Dye School
- E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company
- Eastern Michigan Power Company
- Factory #16
- Fisher Body Corporation
- Flint Administration Building
- Flint Cotton and Woolen Mill Company
- Flint Daily Journal
- Flint Gas Company
- Flint High School
- Flint Institute of Arts & Music
- Flint Junior College
- Flint Light and Power Company
- Flint Motor Company
- Flint Osteopathic Hospital
- Flint Power Syndicate
- Freeman Elementary School
- Garfield Elementary
- General Motors Corporation
- General Motors Institute
- Genesee County Tuberculosis Sanatorium
- Genesee Intermediate Learning Center
- Genesee Memorial Hospital
- Genesee Valley Mall
- Genesee Valley Shopping Center
- GM Chevrolet Assembly Plant
- Goodrich School
- Grand Blanc School
- Grand Trunk Western Railroad
- Hamady High School
- Holy Redeemer Church
- Holy Rosary Church
- Homedale Elementary School
- Hurley Hospital
- Ima Sports Arena
- Kearsley High School
- Koegel Meats Incorporated
- Lapeer School
- Longfellow Middle School
- Louis Allis Company
- Lowell Elementary School
- Manley Elementary School
- McKinley Middle Shcool
- McLaren Hospital
- McLouth Steel Corporation
- Michigan School for the Deaf
- Motor Wheel Corporation
- North Branch School
- Northern High School
- Orunna Road Team Track Grand Trunk Western Railroad
- Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation
- Owosso School
- Peoples Electric Light Company
- Peregrine, Inc.
- Plant #4
- Potter School
- Powers High School
- R.D. Whittier Junior High School
- R.R. Dock Enclosure
- Roosevelt Elementary
- Saint Joseph Hospital
- Saint Leos Church
- Saint Mary’s Church
- Sandlime Brick Company
- Sorrance-Sort Carriage Company
- St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Utley High School
- V-8 Plant
- W. F. Stewart Company
- Washington Elementary School
- Westwood Heights High School
- Whaley Park Williams School
- Whittier Junior High School
- Whittiez Middle School
- Wicks Brothers
- Williams School
- Women’s Hospital
- Zimmerman Junior High School
02. Mesothelioma Risk
Mesothelioma Risk in Flint, Michigan
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gathers county-based statistics. These statistics provide a better understanding of deaths and diagnoses from particular diseases. Data for mesothelioma cases in Flint are recorded under Genesee County.
|Genesee County Mesothelioma Mortality by Gender 1999 – 2018|
|Gender/Age||Number of Deaths||Population|
Data for mesothelioma in Flint was limited with fewer than 16 diagnoses and 16 deaths from 2012 to 2016. There was a notable decline in population during this time period, as well.
03. Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma Treatment in Flint, Michigan
While there are no specialized treatment centers in Flint, there are cancer centers elsewhere in the state. For example, Rogel Cancer Center has a Thoracic Oncology Program that treats mesothelioma. The program also specializes in hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). HIPEC is a common treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma.
University of Michigan
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Cancer Center
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Patients should also consider seeking care from a mesothelioma doctor. Mesothelioma specialists understand what treatment options are available and have experience treating the rare disease.
Shirish M. Gadgeel, M.D.
Gregory P. Kalemkerian, M.D.
Ayman Soubani, M.D.
04. Asbestos Laws
Asbestos Laws in Flint, Michigan
Many of Flint’s asbestos regulations derive from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration Asbestos Program (MIOSHA Asbestos Program). The program was created in September 1986 to ensure safe handling and removal of asbestos. MIOSHA aims to keep both workers and the public safe from harmful exposure.
MIOSHA offers residents and workers of Flint the following resources:
- An EPA-recognized asbestos training course for contractors
- Verification of Asbestos Abatement Accreditation from the state of Michigan
- Verification of Asbestos Abatement Contractor Licenses
- Complete list of accredited individuals and companies certified in handling asbestos
Specific asbestos regulations enforced by MIOSHA include:
- MIOSHA Part 602 Asbestos Standards for Construction
- Michigan Public Act 135 of 1986 Asbestos Abatement Contractor Licensing Act
- Michigan Public Act 440 of 1988 Asbestos Workers Accreditation Act
These standards ensure proper recognition and acknowledgment of asbestos materials. They also require workers to have proper training, licensing and accreditation. Flint employers must notify workers of potential asbestos and related risks.
05. Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits in Flint, Michigan
Individuals diagnosed with an asbestos illness may be able to seek financial compensation. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can provide insight into the possibility of an asbestos lawsuit or other financial assistance options.
Asbestos lawsuits seek compensation from asbestos companies or workplaces responsible for wrongful exposure. For example, school districts, including those in Flint, have been involved in lawsuits against National Gypsum Company. National Gypsum was an asbestos manufacturer that frequently produced construction materials. Materials such as siding and cement were commonly provided to schools.
To ensure eligibility, patients and loved ones must follow Michigan’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations requires claimants to file a claim within a particular time frame. If victims of asbestos exposure are filing for themselves, they adhere to personal injury guidelines. If loved ones are filing after a death, they adhere to wrongful death guidelines.
Mesothelioma law firms in Flint can provide guidance throughout the claims filing process to ensure victims receive the most compensation possible.
Michigan Statute of Limitations
Claims must be filed within 3 years after an asbestos-related diagnosis.
Claims must be filed within 3 years after an asbestos-related death.