Washington Mesothelioma Resources and Asbestos Information
Because of its location in the northwest part of the country, Washington State has seen its share of industrial and manufacturing activities where workers have come into contact with asbestos. In addition to the shipbuilding, oil refining, and paper mills, the region also has a number of large deposits of serpentine, from which chrysotile asbestos is made.
Washington has a long history of shipbuilding, from the early days of exploration and trans-Pacific trade to the naval installations created in the 20th century. Because of the protected inland waterways that include Puget Sound, the military has long had a great influence in this area. During World War II, naval vessels were built and repaired in Bremerton and other locations, and many workers were exposed to asbestos while employed at the shipyards. In addition, a number of private corporations that still operate as shipbuilders in and around Seattle once relied heavily on asbestos as a fire and heat retardant material in most of the vessels being constructed.
Washington does not produce any amount of extracted crude oil, but has a deep connection to areas that do. Much of the crude oil from Alaska is refined in Washington, and there is an ongoing relationship with Asia concerning the transport of crude or partly refined petroleum products. Many of these installations have been in operation for decades, and workers in these facilities were at one time clothed in protective gear that contained asbestos.
The timber industry in Washington has been self-sustaining for many years, and the mills that operate in the state employ workers that are subject to high heat and dangerous fumes. Some of these mills are older structures that were insulated with asbestos, and through the years this insulation began to break down and release fibers into the surrounding air, as maintenance on buildings was at a minimum.
A number of these companies still operate in Washington long after their beginnings during the Second World War. These companies also used asbestos in protective clothing and to insulate walls and pipes. After a number of years, asbestos fibers began to filter through crumbling walls and other cracks, and mixed with steam or pollutants. They were then carried over a large area and settled into the soil itself. Those exposed in past years to asbestos and other similar material hazards were subject to diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos is no longer allowed as a protective or insulating material in modern industrial facilities in Washington.