Asbestos in Power Plants

Beginning in the industrial revolution, power plants increasingly took on the burden of supplying our nation with energy. Today, power plants remain an essential energy source, keeping our nation operating with the heat and electricity they provide. Although builders of the first power plants recognized the importance of ensuring worker safety in these facilities, due to the massive amount of electricity generated within, less obvious risks remained. Because of this generation of large amounts of electricity, early builders of power plants were appropriately concerned with the risk of fire. Unfortunately, the material chosen to insulate these early facilities was asbestos, which poses a dangerous health risk to those who come into contact with it. In many facilities, asbestos lined the site’s equipment, machinery and plumbing to lessen the risks of fire. Specific areas asbestos was used include turbines, generators, boilers, pipes, gaskets and valves. In addition, the ceilings, walls and floors also frequently contained this material to protect those inside from fire. Although many of these older plants have since been remodeled or upgraded with modern equipment, older asbestos-coated turbines and generators were often left, allowing this mesothelioma threat to continue. Government warnings over the last few decades have largely helped eliminate these dangers, as most power plants have since removed or encapsulated asbestos materials. However, this asbestos removal or encapsulation did nothing for past employees of these facilities that underwent prolonged exposure. The material’s frequent use throughout these essential facilities led to the high rate of mesothelioma development seen even today among former employees. Below is a list of power plants that potentially exposed former employees to dangerous levels of asbestos.