01. Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos Exposure in Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont, Texas residents may be exposed to asbestos in a number of settings, including at workplaces, public buildings and private settings, such as at home. Many of the city’s most prominent industries used asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). These industries included oil, ships and chemical refining.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral. The mineral is dangerous when inhaled and can lead to serious health conditions, such as mesothelioma. Often, symptoms of asbestos diseases do not appear for up to 50 years after exposure.
Beaumont, Texas Oil and Asbestos
In 1901, oil explorers struck a large oil reserve under Beaumont’s Spindletop Hill. This was a lucrative discovery for the city of Beaumont, contributing to an oil boom. For many years, the oil industry remained one of the city’s top employers.
Oil refineries used asbestos for its ability to withstand high temperatures. For instance, oil refinery gaskets often contained asbestos to tightly seal pressurized pipes. It was also used in insulation and fireproofing materials.
A March 2006 study investigated occupational asbestos exposure at Beaumont oil refineries. Researchers estimated workers’ exposure levels between 1940 and 1985.
The study found instances of occupational exposure among the following professions:
According to the study, insulators experienced the highest levels of exposure. Though there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, higher levels of exposure are more likely to lead to asbestos-related diseases.
Beaumont, Texas Chemical Plants and Asbestos
The Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area is home to several chemical facilities. ExxonMobil and TPC Group (formerly known as Texas Petrochemicals) operated plants in the area. Chemical plants used asbestos in the early to mid-1900s. Asbestos is resistant to chemical reactions, which makes it useful during chemical processing.
TPC Group constructed a plant in neighboring Port Neches in the 1940s. Pipe coverings and block insulation in the facility contained asbestos. Workers in this plant may have been exposed to asbestos during construction and renovation. When asbestos fibers age, they are likely to break down and become airborne. As a result, old buildings still pose a health threat, even if not currently undergoing construction.
In November 2019, several explosions at the TPC Group chemical plant sent debris into the air. As a result of the explosion, asbestos fibers became airborne. Residents of Beaumont, Nederland and Port Arthur were warned about the asbestos danger by Jefferson County officials. Communities within a 4-mile radius were immediately evacuated after the explosion. Officials believe up to 50,000 Beaumont-Port Arthur area residents may have been affected.
Beaumont, Texas Ships and Asbestos
Beaumont is close to several ports, making it an ideal area for shipbuilding and anchoring. In 1946, the United States government developed the Beaumont Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. The anchorage is still active today as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF).
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) conducted an Environmental Assessment for the Control of Asbestos Hazards for all NDRF sites in 1980. According to the report, all 327 NDRF vessels contained asbestos.
Asbestos was used in ship construction for strength and heat resistance. Sailors, shipyard workers and shipbuilders were at high risk of asbestos exposure while working on these vessels.
Those not working directly on ships at the Port of Beaumont may have also faced exposure. For instance, some workers loaded and unloaded asbestos materials at the docks. Many port employees faced exposure during this period.
Historic records from 1940 show port services included unloading and handling asbestos shingles and asbestos cement.
Other Beaumont, Texas Asbestos Exposure Sites
Asbestos was most popular in Beaumont from the early 1900s to about 1985. As a result, asbestos use was prevalent in many other settings and industries in the city.
Public buildings are especially likely to contain asbestos. Structures built before 1985 may have asbestos in ceilings, insulation or floor tiles. Buildings with aging asbestos in Beaumont include:
- The Jefferson County Courthouse: Originally built in 1803, the Jefferson County courthouse has undergone several renovations through the years. As part of these updates, the courthouse underwent asbestos remediation, including the removal of asbestos floor tile. Lawyers, judges and other frequent visitors may have faced exposure. Recently, a judge’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit for her husband’s mesothelioma-related death. She believed his disease came from asbestos exposure at the courthouse. He worked there until 1996.
- Smith Middle School: Hundreds of schools across the United States contain asbestos products, including Smith Middle School. Floor tiles throughout the school contained asbestos. The tiles were removed, and the school underwent a full renovation in 2009.
Active work sites and sites no longer in use present the risk of asbestos exposure. The following list shows several Beaumont asbestos exposure sites, though it is not exhaustive.
Beaumont, Texas Companies With Known Asbestos Use
- A.P. Green Fire Brick Co. of Texas
- Alco Products
- American Insulation Company, Inc.
- Arch Chemicals, Inc.
- Armstrong Contracting & Supply Corporation
- Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) Refinery
- Austin Middle School
- Beaumont Chemical Plant
- Beaumont City Docks
- Beaumont Confederated Oil & Pipe Line Company
- Beaumont Electric Light and Power Company
- Beaumont Ice, Light and Refining Company
- Beaumont Iron & Metal
- Beaumont National Linen Services
- Beaumont Shipyards
- Beaumont Water Works
- Beaumont Well Works
- Beaumont, Port Arthur and Port Neches Railway
- Bechtel Corporation
- Bethlehem Steel Shipyard
- Big Three Industries, Inc.
- Boiler House North 3
- Bridge City Powerhouse
- Brown Center Old Beaumont Highway
- Central Freight Lines
- Christus Southeast Texas Hospital – St. Elizabeth
- City Auditorium
- Civic Center
- Comet Rice Mills
- Continental Can Company
- Crystal Ice Company
- Dresser-Ideco Company
- Dunbar Elementary School
- DuPont Chemical Plant
- E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
- East Texas Pulp and Paper Company
- ExxonMobil Corporation
- ExxonMobil Pipeline Company
- Forward Reduction Company
- Foster Grand Chemical Company
- G. A. Jahn and Company
- G. S. U. Powerhouse
- George A. Burt Refining Co.
- Gibson Products, Inc.
- Goodyear Chemical Company
- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
- Gray Hall
- Gulf Refining Company
- Gulf States Utilities Company
- Houston Chemical Company
- Humble Oil & Refining Company
- Industrial Insulators, Inc.
- J T Thorpe Company
- J. M. Guffey Petroleum Company
- Lamar University
- Lasco of Beaumont, Inc.
- Lone Star and Crescent Oil Company
- Louisiana Supply Company
- Lower Neches Valley Authority
- Magnolia Petroleum Company
- Marshall Middle School
- McFadden-Weiss-Kyle Rice Milling Co.
- McIntosh Electric
- Mobil Eclipse Ship
- Mobil Grease Plant Tank Farm
- Mobil Oil Refinery
- Morris Hall
- Neches Insurance Agency
- Oil City Brass Works
- Olin Corporation
- Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation
- Olin Mathieson Chemical Plant
- Parkdale Mall
- Pennsylvania Shipyards
- Phillips Petroleum Company Refinery
- Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company
- Port of Beaumont
- PPG Industries
- San Jacinto Building
- Security Oil Company
- Sinclair-Koppers Company Chemical Plant
- Sun Oil Company
- Terra Industries, Inc.
- Texaco Refinery
- Texas Gulf Sulphur Company
- Texas Highway Department
- Texas Metal Works
- The Edson Hotel
- Tower Petroleum Building
- Trotti & Thompson, Inc.
- Union Oil Refinery
- Velsicol Chemical Corporation Plant
02. Mesothelioma Risk
Mesothelioma Risk in Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is in southeast Texas and is the county seat of Jefferson County. The county also contains smaller towns, including Nederland, Port Neches and Port Arthur.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) measures mesothelioma risk by county. From 2012 to 2016, there were 23 mesothelioma diagnoses and 20 mesothelioma deaths in Jefferson County.
Due to the small size of Jefferson County, specific data is limited. The table below shows 1999 to 2018 data for men and older demographics.
|Jefferson County Mesothelioma Male Deaths by Age 1999 – 2018|
|Age||Number of Deaths||Population|
|Ages 55 – 64 years||10||266,128|
|Ages 65 – 74 years||12||158,280|
|Ages 75 – 84 years||42||94,436|
|Ages 85+ years||17||28,745|
03. Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma Treatment in Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a smaller city, with a population of just under 120,000. Therefore, specialized mesothelioma treatment within the city is limited. However, 85 miles west of Beaumont is Houston, Texas.
Houston is a much larger city, with several cancer centers that offer dedicated mesothelioma programs. For example, Baylor College of Medicine has a designated Mesothelioma Treatment Center, which is part of the college’s Lung Institute. The Baylor clinic also offers various support services for patients and families.
Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Finding the right doctor can be a difficult decision for many patients. In Houston, patients will find many specialists to choose from. Finding a cancer center and doctor can help patients to receive the best mesothelioma treatment.
Shawn S. Groth, M.D.
Anne S. Tsao, M.D.
Kanwal Raghav, M.D.
David C. Rice, M.D.
Robert Taylor Ripley, M.D.
Cesar A. Moran, M.D.
Bryan Burt, M.D.
04. Asbestos Laws
Asbestos Laws in Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is subject to federal and state laws regarding asbestos. Organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforce these laws. These guidelines intend to ensure health for individuals likely to come into contact with asbestos.
One such regulation is the Texas Asbestos Health Protection Act (TAHPA). The act gives the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) authority to:
- Provide and revoke asbestos removal licenses.
- Conduct site visits.
- Oversee asbestos abatement.
For instance, the department inspects licensed asbestos abatement professionals at least once each year during an abatement project. The act also states properly licensed asbestos abatement professionals are the only parties allowed to handle, remove or dispose of asbestos materials.
The TAHPA is subject to change as asbestos practices evolve. However, the act specifies no level of asbestos is safe.
According to the TAHPA, any changes to the act “may not by rule identify any level of asbestos concentration as a safe exposure level because any exposure to airborne asbestos is considered to involve some risk.”
05. Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits in Beaumont, Texas
Citizens and workers may have unknowingly been exposed to asbestos. As a result, many have developed asbestos diseases. Oftentimes, asbestos manufacturing companies knew of the connection between asbestos exposure and cancer.
Some individuals may also be able to join a class action lawsuit. These lawsuits often represent a large group of people who were exposed in similar ways or by a common party. For example, a recent lawsuit included the employees of 22 refineries, chemical plants and shipyards located around the country, including in Beaumont.
The success of an asbestos claim is dependent on many factors, including the claimant’s disease severity, exposure history and health history. Beaumont mesothelioma lawyers will guide individuals through gathering all the relevant information and the claim process.
The statute of limitations is another important aspect of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. This will vary depending on if an individual is filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Individuals should contact a Beaumont mesothelioma attorney to learn more about the filing process.
Statute of Limitations for Texas
Claims must be filed within two years after an asbestos-related diagnosis.
Claims must be filed within two years after an asbestos-related death.
Beaumont residents may have experienced occupational asbestos exposure from several work sites. Finding an experienced law firm for representation can help individuals seek compensation.