Texas Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information
Texas is the second largest state in terms of both area and population. It is the number one state in domestic oil production, BP Amoco, Citgo, Esso, Chevron, Exxon, Fina, Gulf, Mobil, and Shell all operating refineries within the state. Many of these refineries employ workers who have been exposed to asbestos on the job and are now suffering from mesothelioma. According to Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, oil industry workers have the highest risk of developing a disease related to asbestos. Among these diseases is mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.
The same asbestos risks that are found in the oil refinery business are associated with construction and industry. Asbestos has many natural properties that make it different. It is resistant to heat, flames, and chemical corrosion. A soft mineral, its unique properties make it a good candidate to make gaskets and protective gloves.
Petroleum oil is susceptible to flames, whether in its crude state or during any point during its refinement. Working with petroleum is extremely dangerous, which was made evident by a BP refinery accident that killed 15 and seriously injured 100 people. In addition, BP made it known that Hurricane Rita damaged a refinery’s insulation and released asbestos fibers across the Houston region.
Asbestos was used as insulation to protect distillation equipment in the refineries of Texas. The mineral was also used in gaskets in assembling various parts of equipment as well. Since these parts were in use since 1980, the material was subject to become brittle and began to crumble. During the Hurricane Rita, it was easy for heavy winds to carry these fibers through the air.
One study that was conducted by UK medical researchers in 2003 shows that 45,000 oil workers who had been working for a one year period were subject to “significantly elevated” rates of mesothelioma. These workers were involved in the delivery and distribution of asbestos materials. Since asbestos is used as an electrical insulator to protect conduits, wires, turbines, and generators, shipyards, chemical plants, and power plants are also places in Texas where workers can become exposed to asbestos.