Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure in Texas
Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems including pleural mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. If you have lived and worked in Texas for significant amount of time, there is a chance that you were exposed to asbestos at home or in the workplace. For your convenience, we have compiled information about asbestos and mesothelioma in the state of Texas.
Below you will find recent local statistics about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. We have also included descriptions of industries and lists of cities, towns and specific job sites in Texas where asbestos exposure has occurred. Local Texas mesothelioma doctors and treatment centers are also listed. Finally we include recent news articles about asbestos and mesothelioma in Texas.
Texas Mesothelioma and Asbestos Statistics
From 1999-2015, 2,191 Texas residents died from mesothelioma
- Texas has a mesothelioma mortality rate of approximately 5 people per million annually (Source: CDC)
- Texas has 8 known asbestos sites, including two former mine prospects (Source: USGS)
- Orange and Jefferson counties experienced higher mesothelioma mortality rates than elsewhere in the state from 2000-2009 of about 25 and 22 people per million each year, respectively (Source: CDC)
Asbestos Use in Texas Work Environments
Texans have faced a high number of mesothelioma and asbestos-related deaths over the year partially because of the mineral’s wide use in so many industries within the state.
Dallas and Houston, as well as many other cities in Texas, are home to a number of oil refineries like Phillips Pride Refining. Oil refineries are a big industry in the state and have created thousands of jobs, though that just means thousands of employees facing asbestos exposure. Asbestos was often sought after in construction of these facilities because it could resist heat and most chemical reactions.
With its border on the Gulf of Mexico, Texas has been a popular place for shipyards and shipbuilding services for decades. American Bridge Shipyard in Orange, Port Adams Shipyard, Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corporation, and over a dozen others have popped up over the years to build, repair, and maintain ships. Thousands of workers were employed at these sites, risking exposure to asbestos and other toxins used in the ships’ construction.
Veterans account for around 30% of all mesothelioma diagnoses because of the wide use of asbestos throughout the military. Ships, aircrafts, and buildings on bases were just a few areas veterans could have been exposed during their service. Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin and the Naval Station Ingleside in Corpus Christi are known sites of asbestos exposure for veterans, as well as civilian workers.
Pathfinder Manufacturing and Chevron Phillips Plastics created very different products, but like many other manufacturers around the country, have caused asbestos exposure because of asbestos in their facilities. Equipment often contained asbestos products, like gaskets, to help protect against heat. The buildings themselves would also contain a variety of asbestos products in their construction.
Dow Chemical, Phillips Chemical Company, and Nalco Chemical Plant are just a sampling of the many chemical plants in Texas that have relied on asbestos. These facilities relied on asbestos materials for construction, equipment, and sometimes even protective clothing as this durable mineral is resistant to both high heat and most chemicals.
Asbestos Shipyards and Superfund Sites in Texas
Though Texas has dozens of Superfund sites all over the state, the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t noted asbestos as a concern at any of these sites. However, residents and workers still face the risk of exposure at numerous shipyards along the coastline.
AMFELS Shipyard in Brownsville went through several different owners and names over its history, still operating today under the Keppel Offshore and Marine Company. Regardless of name and owner, the shipyard has been running since the 1970s and still builds all kinds of commercial vessels. These ships included barges, sludge carriers, and support ships, among others, and the site continues to be prolific today in the construction and refurbishment of various vessel types. Through the beginning of its operations, asbestos was used frequently aboard ships and workers rarely used any kind of protective gear. Over this period, thousands of workers were potentially exposed to asbestos.
Bloodworth Bond Shipyard
Bloodworth Bond Shipyards operates today under the Bollinger Company and they have two locations in Houston and Texas City. Both shipyards have several drydocks and the capacity to work on any size vessel. Since their opening, the shipyards have focused largely on repair work and have employed hundreds of tradesmen. Repairs on ships could be very dangerous, since asbestos could be found almost anywhere. Repairs in the boiler room or inside the ship especially could result in airborne asbestos becoming more concentrated from poor ventilation.
Orange Shipbuilding Company
Orange Shipbuilding Company was founded in 1974. Shipbuilding became an important economic boost to Orange during World War II, and many of these companies continued to grow even after the war efforts. The shipbuilders first focused on towboats, until they saw some contracts from the U.S. Navy for tank barges. In 1997, the company was acquired by Conrad Industries and continues to build and repair a wide variety of ships. Around the time the company was first forming until the 1980s, towboat engine rooms and most other ships were outfitted with asbestos materials, making maintenance and repair especially dangerous.
Port Freeport has been operating in Freeport, Texas for well over 100 years and is one of the most important ports on the Gulf Coast. The port stretches over 7,500 acres of land and is easily accessible for national and international business. The shipyard is capable of construction, maintenance, and repair of various types of vessels. With so many specialties, it is one of the larger employers in Freeport. Throughout its long history in shipbuilding, this shipyard unfortunately has an equally long history of asbestos exposure. Until asbestos was banned from maritime manufacturing in the mid-1970s, it was a prime material in ships’ construction because it could withstand the changes in heat and moisture and help build a durable, safe engine.
Asbestos Exposure in Texas Cities
Provided below is a list of cities in the state of Texas where asbestos use in the workplace is known to have occurred. Click on a city below to see more detailed information about the specific job sites where asbestos exposure occurred.
Asbestos Risks at Other Texas Work Sites
Beyond the major cities and towns in Texas, asbestos exposure has also occurred at a number of other job sites. Select a town to see the list of its work sites where asbestos exposure occurred. Asbestos exposure at any one of the sites revealed could put a worker at risk to develop pleural mesothelioma.
Asbestos-Related News in Texas
A phase I clinical trial tested the safety and efficacy of a new chemotherapy combination to be applied as heated intraoperative chemotherapy following surgical resection of pleural mesothelioma. The main goal of the study was to find the maximum safe dosage of chemotherapy drug gemcitabine with cisplatin when applied in this manner. In the past, heated intraoperative chemotherapy for pleural mesothelioma has often only studied cisplatin alone.
Arp Schools have begun replacing their asbestos pipes and seeking another water source in the meantime. Water coolers and filters are currently being used to ensure students, faculty, and staff aren’t drinking contaminated water. The possibility of getting water from another rural water supply company is being explored. City sewer lines would still be utilized, but the legality and cost need to be decided.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Who Is At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/asbestos/risk2.html (accessed 23 August 2010).
Geological Research, Analyses and Services Programs. “Naturally Occurring Asbestos Locations in the Contiguous U.S. and Alaska.” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 25 May 2007.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/noa/usamap.pdf (accessed 23 August 2010).
Krstev, S. et al. “Mortality Among Shipyard Coast Guard Workers: A Retrospective Cohort Study.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 64 (October 2007): 651-8.
Price, Tom and T. J. Aulds. “What Went Wrong: Oil Refinery Disaster.” Popular Mechanics, July 2005.
Sorahan, Tom. “Mortality of UK Oil Refinery and Petroleum Distribution Workers, 1951-2003.” Occupational Medicine 57, no. 3 (2007): 177-85.