Corpus Christi Complex
LyondellBasell’s Corpus Christi Complex is located on a 2,500 acre site about 12 miles west of downtown Corpus Christi, TX. It is one of many chemical and manufacturing facilities owned by LyondellBasell in the United States. LyondellBasell is a large petrochemical, refining and development company headquartered in the Netherlands. At the Corpus Christi Complex workers manufacture chemical resins that make plastics, specifically ethylene and propylene.
At the Corpus Christi Complex the production of ethylene and propylene means that the primary ingredients are being manufactured; the company can send these ingredients to other companies for the processing of more specialized plastics. About 400 employees work at this facility, which was forced to pay more than $3.25 million in 2008 after violations issues. These issues included storage of wastewater, record keeping, faults with leak detection and repair and emissions releases.
A plastic resin manufacturing plant involves areas of high heat, preparation chambers, storage units and a great deal of electrical current. Workers in such an environment must often wear protective clothing, use automated machinery that processes chemicals and transport substances from one area to another.
This facility is one of many chemical plants around the world that may have used asbestos as an insulating compound. Asbestos is very inexpensive, is lightweight and a good fire retardant. It does not conduct heat and is therefore an excellent covering for pipes, coating for wires, material for walls and ceilings in hot indoor workplaces, and is even used as protective clothing.
Asbestos fibers often become loose and float freely in the air. Workers who inhale these silicate fibers are at risk for disease even 20 to 50 years after exposure. The fibers are carcinogens and many medical experts were aware of this in years past but could not prevent companies from installing this material in their factories. Past employees of the Corpus Christi Complex in Texas may have been exposed to asbestos in the past and are only now showing symptoms of asbestosis, mesothelioma or other illness.