There are many dangers associated with work in the oil field, as it requires hard labor around heavy machinery and oil which is a toxic and extremely flammable substance. The oil field workers responsible for the hard manual labor, commonly known as Roughnecks, may have been exposed to many different asbestos products throughout the oil drilling process including insulation, drilling mud, and fire-proof clothing.
Asbestos gained popularity throughout the 20th century because it was cheap, strong, durable, non-conductive and resistant to heat and flame. It was both imported to and mined in the United States and added to thousands of consumer goods. Because of the fire hazards inherent in oil drilling, asbestos filler was used for many applications in the oil industry. Roughnecks working on pipe fittings were commonly handling asbestos insulation that was used on pipes to resist heat and flame.
In both onshore and offshore drilling roughnecks may have been exposed to asbestos that was used as an additive to drilling mud. Roughnecks were often responsible for mixing raw asbestos into the drilling mud used to clean out the oil wells and cool drill bits during oil drilling. Handling the mineral in raw form created large amounts of asbestos dust. Once airborne, asbestos fibers can be inhaled or ingested into the body where they can cause damage to organ tissues. The inflammation and scarring of organ tissues caused by asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer and other illnesses.
Roughnecks may have also been exposed by the clothing they wore for protection. Protective clothing woven with asbestos fibers was often worn by oil workers to protect them from fire in the oil field. As these insulation products and protective fire-suits aged, the asbestos became friable, releasing tiny fibers in the air where they could be inhaled.
Sadly, in the United States, millions of people have been exposed to asbestos. Because it generally takes 10 to 60 years from the time of asbestos exposure for mesothelioma symptoms to appear, we are only now seeing the terrible effects of asbestos use.
Trust funds have been established by many companies to pay compensation to those injured by asbestos exposure.
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.