01. Asbestos Use at Chemical Plants
How Was Asbestos Used at Chemical Plants?
Many chemical plants added asbestos to their building materials, machinery and products. For example, asbestos could be found in cement, pipe insulation and boilers. Asbestos was used because of the mineral’s chemical- and heat-resistant qualities.
During installation, repair and maintenance, asbestos fibers could become disturbed. Airborne asbestos fibers created an asbestos exposure risk to any workers nearby.
If a worker inhaled or ingested these fibers, they may be at risk of developing an asbestos illness later in life. Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can develop up to 50 years after initial exposure.
In most cases, asbestos use has ended in the United States. However, asbestos may still be present in some chemical plants. Chemical plant workers may be at risk if old asbestos materials are disturbed.
02. Notable Chemical Plants
Notable Chemical Plants That Used Asbestos
Chemical plants across the country used asbestos in a variety of ways. Many U.S. chemical plants are still removing asbestos from their facilities.
This asbestos use exposed many workers and their loved ones. As a result, companies continue to face asbestos lawsuits and mesothelioma claims.
Hercules Chemical Company Plants
Hercules Chemical Company, Inc. manufactured a variety of products for the plumbing industry. Beginning in the 1950s, the company used asbestos in some of its cement and putty products.
- Years of Operation: 1915 – Present
- Location: Passaic, New Jersey
As a result of the company’s asbestos use, employees and consumers experienced asbestos exposure. Hercules Chemical has faced lawsuits due to the use of asbestos and Agent Orange.
In 2008, the company faced approximately 7,000 asbestos lawsuits. To resolve the lawsuits, Hercules Chemical filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Hercules Chemical later established an asbestos trust fund in 2010. The company still accepts and pays successful asbestos trust fund claims.
Dow Chemical Company
Dow chemical company is one of the three largest chemical producers in the world. For many years, the company used asbestos-containing materials at its facilities.
- Years of Operation: 1897 – Present
- Location: Midland, Michigan
The company’s use of asbestos products, such as asbestos insulation, exposed many workers to the mineral. Dow Chemical has faced thousands of asbestos lawsuits from individuals who said the company was negligent.
Despite knowing the health risks associated with asbestos, Dow Chemical continued to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the mineral. Dow Chemical has also continued to oppose banning asbestos in countries around the world.
Other Chemical Plants That Caused Exposure
Chemical plants that have had proven exposure to asbestos across the United States include:
- Allied Chemical Corp
- Calabama Chemical Company
- Ciba Geigy Chemical Company
- Diamond Shamrock Chemicals
- Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation
- Olin Mathieson Chemical
- Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation
- Stauffer Chemical Company
- Allied Chemical Plant California
- Naugatuck Chemical Company
- Uniroyal, Inc
- Hercules Powder Company
- Petro Chemical Products
- Irwin Chemical Company
- USI Chemical Co.
- Harcros Chemical Company
- CONDEA Vista Chemical
- Olin Corporation
- Union Chemical Company
- Dow Chemical Plant
- Industrial Liquid Chemical Company
- Roswell Industrial Air Center
- DuPont Yerkes Plant
- Borden Chemical Company
- Chevron Chemical Fertilizer Plant
- Chipman Chemical
- Georgia-Pacific Resin Plant
- Pennwalt Sodium Chlorate Plant
- Portland Gas and Coke Company
- Rhone-Poulenc Chemical Plant
- Stauffer Chemical Plant Oregon
- Dytex Chemical Company
- Shell Oil Refinery
- Texaco Oil Refinery Washington
- Allied Chemical Plant Wyoming
- Standard Oil Refinery
- Stauffer Chemical Plant Wyoming
- Texaco Oil Refinery Wyoming
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03. Who Is At Risk?
Who Is At Risk of Exposure at Chemical Plants?
Chemical plant workers who came into contact with asbestos on the job risked occupational exposure. Asbestos was added to chemical plant machinery and products because of its heat and chemical resistance.
A variety of workers frequently came into contact with asbestos insulation, cement and other products. While handling these products, asbestos fibers often became airborne. Fibers may then be inhaled or ingested and embed in the body.
In 1991, researchers conducted a study of 995 petrochemical employees. It found nine percent of workers had an asbestos-related abnormality show up on an X-ray.
According to the study, maintenance workers had the highest rates of asbestos-related abnormalities.
Before the 1980s, many workers did not know asbestos was dangerous. Workers were often not protected from asbestos dust by their employers. As a result, thousands of workers experienced exposure.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure at Chemical Plants
At times, chemical workers brought asbestos home on their clothing. When asbestos dust was brought into the home, family members and loved ones may have experienced secondary exposure.
Many spouses have cited laundering asbestos-ridden clothes as the cause of their mesothelioma.
Today, asbestos laws and regulations help protect workers from asbestos exposure. However, old asbestos products may still pose a danger to chemical plant workers and their families.
04. Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos Lawsuits and Compensation
Chemical plant workers diagnosed with mesothelioma may seek financial compensation. Chemical plant workers who developed an asbestos illness from occupational exposure can file:
- An asbestos lawsuit: Successful lawsuits may result in a mesothelioma settlement or verdict.
- A trust fund claim: Asbestos companies have established asbestos trust funds to compensate workers and their loved ones.
Compensation through a lawsuit or claim may help individuals pay for treatment and other expenses.
Family of Chemical Plant Worker Awarded $5 Million
During his career, Terrance came into contact with several asbestos products. Terrance’s family filed a lawsuit against Exxon, Dow Chemical and several other defendants. A jury awarded the family $5 million for general damages.