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 protective clothing and drilling mud.
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 worked in the oil drilling industry may have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma cancer due to asbestos exposure on the jobsite.
Oil is not only toxic, but it is also extremely flammable. Asbestos gained its popularity throughout the 20th century because it was cheap, strong, durable, non-conductive and resistant to heat and flame. Because of the fire hazards inherent in oil drilling, asbestos was used for many applications in the oil industry. Oilfield workers may have been exposed to many different asbestos products throughout the oil drilling process including insulation, fire-proof clothing, and drilling mud.
Those working as pipefitters were commonly handling asbestos insulation that was used on pipes. Asbestos was often used as insulation because of its resistance to heat and flame. For the same reasons, many workers wore protective clothing woven with asbestos fibers to protect them from fire on the jobsite. As these insulation products and protective fire-suits aged, the asbestos fibers became friable, releasing tiny asbestos fibers in the air where they could be inhaled.
Another common use for asbestos in both onshore and offshore drilling, was an additive to drilling mud. This drilling mud was used to help clean out the oil well and cool the drill bit during oil drilling. Oilfield workers were often required to mix dry asbestos into the mud for use that created plumes of asbestos dust. Once these asbestos fibers are airborne they can make their way into the body where they become lodged in our internal tissue. The body attempts, in vain, to eliminate the asbestos fibers. Over the years the body's fight against these fibers can cause the buildup of scar tissue (asbestosis) and, in some cases, the development of cancer, including throat cancer, lung cancer stomach cancer, colon cancer, and mesothelioma cancer.
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.