It is widely understood that working in coal mines can be dangerous to one’s health. Now, it is coming to light that the cleanup of unhealthy coal sites may also be hazardous to workers’ health in Tennessee. Coal ash is a by-product of burning coal to generate electricity. A recent spill and its subsequent cleanup have resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit being brought against the company responsible for the cleanup effort.
Coal ash contains silica quartz dust in a very concentrated form. The dust is the component that is believed to cause pneumoconiosis, better known as black lung disease. The firm responsible for the ash spill cleanup said testing at the site revealed that their workers were not exposed to high levels of quartz dust.
A lawsuit was brought on behalf of 119 workers who claim to have been sickened by exposure they suffered in connection with the toxic cleanup. Five of the workers passed away, and a coroner’s report confirms that one of them died from black lung disease. The person in question had never worked in a coal mine. Black lung disease is caused by long-term exposure to breathing coal dust.
The coal ash cleanup caused by the spill is the largest man-made environmental disaster on record. It surpasses the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon oil spills. Workers who risk exposure to dangerous chemicals in Tennessee should be made aware of the danger and should have access to adequate protection. Anyone in Tennessee who believes a loved one may have passed a way as a result of possible exposure might benefit from a conversation with a personal injury attorney, who can advise if there may be grounds for a wrongful death civil suit.