Just 20 miles east of Houston is the county’s largest petrochemical company on the Gulf Coast, the LyondellBasell Channelview Chemical Complex. This complex first started in 1957 and today it is the third largest independent chemical company in the world. It covers more than 3,900 acres and its skilled employees produce ethylene, benzene, styrene monomer, propylene oxide and propylene in two separate facilities – the North side and the South side. The North side produces ethylene, propylene, butadiene and benzene, while the South side produces other derivatives and gasoline blending products.
With the materials produced, LyondellBasell helps to manufacture products that are used every day to make things safer, stronger, more affordable and more reliable. LyondellBasell contributes into major markets, some of which include lightweight products, fresh food wrapping, durable textiles, lightweight auto parts, healthcare products and biofuel.
The Complex itself has received the Texas Chemical Council award for seven years straight. This is an award given to petrochemical companies for their excellence in employee management relations in the company and in the surrounding community. Achievements in environment regulations, safety issues, security, community outreach and interaction and emergency response create a stellar performance record for the award. The Channelview site also received the “Industry of the Year’ award issued by the Economic Alliance Port Region and recognized by the commissioner.
Despite The Complex receiving awards for its achievements in the environment, it is very possible that the toxic mineral asbestos was used in the construction of the building. Asbestos was known to be a highly effective and durable insulator and was thus built into the pipes, boilers, furnaces, and other parts of factories to help prevent fires and heat-related injuries. It was also used in protective gear, workbenches, and other items with which employees had direct contact.
The effects of inhaling asbestos fibers are generally latent for 20 to 50 years after the exposure. Since the symptoms can be latent for so long, it’s common for patients to be diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma when the disease has already reached a late stage of development.