Failure to comply with occupational health and safety standards can be costly to companies.

If companies willingly expose workers and employees to harmful pollutants, they may have to pay a hefty price.

One the most recent examples is a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit against Dow Chemical, which has resulted in a $9 million jury award for the family of a former worker.

Robert Henderson, of Dallas, Texas, died from mesothelioma after working for years as a Dow contract employee, where he was allegedly exposed to asbestos contained in Dow insulators on a regular basis.

According to allegations raised in the asbestos lawsuit, Dow Chemical determined in 1968 that any case of mesothelioma had to be attributed to asbestos exposure, but continued to allow workers, including Henderson, to be exposed.

Last month, a Texas jury awarded $9 million to Henderson’s family, determining that Dow Chemical was 30% responsible for the former worker’s death. Dow officials have said that they will appeal the verdict, indicating that juror sympathy for the Henderson family played more of a factor in the verdict than the evidence presented.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer found in the lining of the chest and lungs, which is only known to occur as a result of exposure to asbestos. The disease has a very long latency period and is often not discovered until decades after exposure, leading to a limited life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Asbestos was widely used throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s, but given the long period of time that usually passes between exposure and diagnosis, the number of mesothelioma deaths has continued to rise, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mesothelioma lawsuits over asbestos exposure are the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.


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