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Crown Central Petroleum

Crown Central Petroleum, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, refines and markets petroleum products throughout the United States. It operates a refinery near Houston, Texas, that has a rated capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil per day, as well as another refinery in Tyler, Texas, that can produce 52,000 barrels a day.

From a well that was dug in 1917, one of the first refineries on the Houston Ship channel was built. The plant opened in 1920 and produced lubricant oil. The company itself was incorporated in 1923 as United Central Oil Corporation. In the mid-1930s, Crown Central Petroleum Corporation, now known as Crown Central, LLC, pioneered 100-octane aviation gasoline. The Navy soon saw use for this in planes during World War II.

Today, the company not only profits from refinery operations, which account for 63 percent of its revenue based on 1999 figures, but through retail marketing. Its gas stations can be found in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

Environmental Responsibility

In 1990, a supertanker spilled 2,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It was owned by a Norwegian firm, but since it was being delivered to Crown Central, legal arguments ensued to determine who was most responsible for the accident. With foreign businesses then reluctant to ship oil to the U.S., the company purchased part of its oil product at its point of origin in order to assume greater responsibility for transport.

Even during the 1980s, the company spent much effort and money on complying with environmental concerns, and licensed a process that helped recover liquids from refinery fuel gas to contain refinery flares. Following these efforts, Crown Central’s fiscal outlook was considered bleak by the 1990s.

Despite selling many of its assets in 2004, the company paid off creditors and avoided liquidation in 2007 and began the process of rebuilding its brand and its refining and retail business.

Oil Refineries and Asbestos

Whenever fire or extreme temperature was a concern, the mineral called asbestos was the insulating material of choice in most of the 1900s. Materials that contained asbestos, accordingly, were commonly used when erecting plants such as Crown Central Petroleum refineries in Texas. Along with being heat-proof and non-flammable, certain types of amphibole asbestos are also especially impervious to reactive chemicals. Floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, counter tops, even protective uniforms, therefore, often contained the fibrous mineral. There is no question that asbestos was excellent at protecting against heat or fire. This strength, however, was accompanied by a significant price in terms of human health.

Generally, amosite was the variety of asbestos utilized. When mixed with chrysotile, which is impervious to heat and bases but not as impervious to acids, amosite creates products that are particularly effective at protecting against corrosive chemicals. Used for decades in the form of asbestos transite in laboratories and refineries throughout the US, amosite was eventually prohibited from use in building materials in the 1970s.

Asbestos transite had qualities similar to cement; it could be laminated and sprayed onto pipes and ductwork. This form of asbestos did not present a health risk so long as it stayed solid. Microscopic fibers of asbestos enter into the air, however, as transite with asbestos containing material (ACM) grows older and becomes prone to becoming powdery. Asbestos in this condition is called friable, which is defined as easily pulverized. The insulation lining of industrial ovens also frequently were constructed with friable asbestos.

The Problem with Friable Asbestos

When they are friable, asbestos particles are easily dispersed in the environment. If a person inhales these fibers, they can damage the lungs, causing cancer or asbestosis. Another rare, but generally fatal, disease caused by asbestos is a type of cancer called mesothelioma. The pleural variety of the illness, one which affects the lining between the lungs and the chest cavity, is the most prevalent. When the airborne particles settle on food or drinks and are then swallowed, pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma may occur, though they are less common than pleural mesothelioma.

Increased pressure from the press, medical scientists and activist groups led to rules controlling the use of asbestos. However, when Crown Central Petroleum refineries in Texas was built, asbestos was much more prevalent. And even now, asbestos from the past can cause danger if it is not properly handled during remodeling and demolition projects.

Asbestos Exposure - a Hidden Danger

In contrast to many on-the-job injuries, which are easily observed and known about immediately following the incident, asbestos-related illnesses may take many, many years to manifest. Given such a lag time between exposure to asbestos and the onset of symptoms, a worker might not connect his or her current health problem with work done up to 40 years earlier. Those that worked at or spent much time near places such as Crown Central Petroleum refineries in Texas should therefore ask their physicians for a mesothelioma treatment guide. Such information can enable doctors make a timely diagnosis; especially with mesothelioma, the earlier it is caught, the better the chances of survival or at the least of enjoying an improved quality of life. If detected early there is a chance the disease can be treated; early diagnosis is crucial as there is no mesothelioma cure.


Sources - Crown Central Petroleum Corporation - CNP A - Profile

Convenience Store News - Crown Central Looks to Re-Enter Markets

Funding Universe - Crown Central Petroleum Corporation

University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) - Laboratories and Shops

University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Disposal

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