Asbestos in Chemical Plants
Long known for its resistance to heat and fire, asbestos also possesses a natural resistance to chemicals, making it a commonly used material in chemical plants and laboratories. Furthermore, the use of asbestos as a material coating lessened the chances of an unintended chemical reaction. Like its use in other factories, asbestos was utilized in chemical plants to create a safer work environment. Some of the other areas asbestos saw use was in protective clothing, counter tops and benches. However, when the U.S. began regulating the use of this material, individuals quickly began to recognize the dangers of this material.
Although an effective insulator against heat, fire and chemicals, asbestos poses a significant risk when fragmented, which allows it to enter the body and cause a variety of medical conditions, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Furthermore, these plants frequently utilized chrysotile asbestos, which is one of the more dangerous varieties of this mineral. Even when public awareness of this environmental risk increased, many companies insisted this form of asbestos was safe. Chrysotile asbestos saw frequent use in chemical plants into the 1970s, when it waas first regulated by the EPA.
Because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, former chemical plant workers might only be exhibiting the first symptoms of this disease today. Below is a list of chemical plants and their history of asbestos use, which potentially puts all former employees at risk.