Throughout the 20th century, tons of asbestos were mined in our country and put in thousands of everyday products. Asbestos was very inexpensive and was used as filler in many different products throughout many different industries. For example, asbestos was widely used in pipe insulation, machinery, and protective gear.
There are a number of different jobs where workers were exposed to a large amount of asbestos on a very frequent basis. People who have been employed by oil refineries may have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma cancer due to asbestos exposure on the jobsite.
Oil refineries are large factories that chemically process crude oil into refined petroleum products, including gasoline, kerosene, diesel, heating and lubricating oils. These facilities are often made up of multiple buildings and piping systems to connect them and transport fluids.
For many decades in the twentieth century before asbestos was banned for health hazards including mesothelioma, it was wildly popular in industrial applications because the mineral was cheap, durable, non-conductive and resistant to heat and flame. Oil refineries, which required high temperatures around flammable crude oils and chemicals, were no exception. Asbestos insulation was commonly found in these refineries in pipes, boilers, furnaces, pumps, and tanks. Asbestos was also found in sealants, gaskets, work surfaces and protective fire-proof clothing.
These oil refineries housed many different tradesmen under one roof including millwrights, pipefitters, boiler makers, welders, electricians and engineers. Oil refinery workers, regardless of specific occupation or direct handling of asbestos products, may have been exposed to asbestos. Many of the processes taking place inside these facilities required employees to cut, sand and handle asbestos containing materials. These processes as well as general wear and tear on asbestos insulation, equipment, and protective clothes created asbestos dust. These tiny asbestos fibers were easily made airborne where they could linger in the air for oil refinery workers to inhale and ingest. Once these fibers make their way into the body, they can become lodged in organ tissues causing inflammation and scarring that may lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Unfortunately, millions of people have been exposed to asbestos over the years. Only now are we able to see the disastrous effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Generally, it takes 10 to 60 years from the time of asbestos exposure until symptoms appear or mesothelioma is diagnosed. Many of the companies have established trust funds to pay compensation to persons injured by asbestos.
If you have mesothelioma, or other asbestos-related injury, and wish to consult an attorney about your legal rights to compensation, CLICK HERE for a free consultation.