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Asbestos Used in Turbines to Keep the Heat Away

Machines that are designed to generate electricity through the conversion of gas, water, steam or other fluids that are in motion are known as turbines. Each one features a rotor that turns a system of blades, or vanes, as the fluids pass through it. The blades then begin to spin quickly, thus producing electricity.

Like so many other machines, turbines included a tough and durable material called asbestos. This is a mineral that is found in large natural deposits, and it was used for decades as a base for hundreds of products. It strengthens every item in which it is used, and it also helps them operate better in high temperature environments. The mineral acts as a fire retardant, so it was thought to be ideal for machinery that produced heat, movement or electricity.

As turbines work, they create a great deal of heat, so the asbestos inside of them helps keep everything running at a safe temperature. What was realized far too late was that this material that was intended to provide safety was actually quite harmful. Sometime around the beginning of the 1970's, people learned that asbestos contains poisons that can infiltrate the human respiratory system. Microscopic particles of the mineral can easily be inhaled and then become a very destructive internal force. People who breathe it in become subjected to chronic breathing disorders, tissue scarring and even cancer. In more severe cases, the victim may develop mesothelioma, a cancer that has no cure and leaves few survivors. Because mesothelioma sometimes takes up to 40 years to develop post exposure (i.e. long latency period), when the disease is diagnosed it is typically in the later stages. Thus the life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is often quoted as "short". There are top mesothelioma clinics in the country that offer mesothelioma treatment including immunotherapy, pleurocentesis and mesothelioma pleurodesis along with advanced drug therapy using Navelbine, Alimta® and Onconase. View our mesothelioma treatment guide for more detailed treatment information.

Asbestos and the Danger it Poses

After people started realizing the dangers of asbestos, most manufacturers dropped it from all of their products. Others, however, refused to get rid of the material that was inexpensive and had such a wide variety of uses. They continued to utilize in in their goods, and did nothing to alert people of the danger. This caused thousands of people to become sick, because they were unaware that the items they were using included a toxic substance. Turbines that were made with asbestos posed a danger not only to those who worked in factories where the machines are built, but also to anyone who operated them. The United States Navy required turbines on every vessel, so the people on board were constantly facing an unknown health hazard.

People who were infected by asbestos may not be aware of it for years or even decades. Signs of the disease emerge very slowly, and often by the time someone is diagnosed with a disease like mesothelioma cancer, it has done an extensive amount of damage to them. This is one reason why even today, so many years after asbestos was banned nationally by the Environmental Protection Agency, lawsuits are still filed against the companies that produced turbines or other hazardous merchandise.

Turbines Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of turbines products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
General Electric Turbines
Westinghouse Turbines

Find out if you have a Claim

If you sailed on a ship that had asbestos filled turbines, or were exposed to the toxic mineral from other products, you may wish to file your own personal injury claim. We have put together an informative kit that describes what your options are, and provides more details about asbestos and mesothelioma. To receive a free copy, simply request one online while visiting this site.

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