Asbestos is frequently found in many homes and buildings throughout the United States. Up until the 1970s, asbestos was used in various construction materials and equipment regularly. Due to the handling of electrical wires and equipment within the interior of buildings and various structures, electricians are at high-risk to exposure. Exposure to asbestos can result in a wide variety of long term health issues, one of the most common and serious being mesothelioma. 

Asbestos Dangers

Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous material that has been used in thousands of products for decades. When this material is disturbed or moved, it separates into small microscopic particles that float in the air and can be inhaled by anyone within its proximity. People exposed to asbestos through occupational exposure can develop a number of diseases such as asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer, and mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is a tumor formed in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, although most often found in the lungs. Although it is rare, Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that can only be caused by exposure to asbestos.

Anyone exposed to asbestos is at risk of developing health problems, but the amount of risk depends on several factors include (but are not limited to):

  • How much asbestos has been inhaled
  • How often it was inhaled
  • Underlying health conditions of the person exposed

Those exposed through high-risk occupations, such as chemical technicians, show no signs of illness or health issues for a long period of time after exposure. Once exposed, it can take anywhere from 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms of an asbestos-related illness to become present.

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Asbestos-Containing Products

Before the dangers of asbestos usage were widely known, it was often used in chemical plants as a protective coating for equipment and other materials. Asbestos was routinely woven into protective gear worn by chemical plant workers and technicians. 

Asbestos-containing materials often used by chemical technicians include:

  • Protective Gear – Lab coats, Heat resistant gear
  • Machinery & Equipment – Pumps, Valves, Turbine, Furnaces, Mixers, Grinders
  • Building Materials – Sealants, Paint, Molding, Insulation

High-Risk Chemical Technician Occupations

Chemical plant workers are considered one of the occupations at highest risk for asbestos exposure. Although anyone working at a chemical plant between the 1930s and 1980s may be at risk, some occupations are at a much higher risk than others. Some of the occupations considered to be high-risk for occupational exposure include:

  • Chemical engineers
  • Equipment operators
  • Maintenance workers
  • Chemists
  • Carpenters & Painters
  • Quality control inspectors
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

Chemical Technicians & Asbestos Lawsuits

Once the dangers of asbestos exposure were brought to light and new regulations were formed, many chemical plants made no movement towards protecting and compensating their workers. Negligence from these chemical plants resulted in serious lawsuits and financial compensation for workers. Laws related to mesothelioma and mesothelioma victims vary by state, but a personal injury claim can be filed several years after diagnosis.

One of the most famous chemical plant and asbestos-related lawsuits includes the cases between Thomas Brown and two chemical plant corporations (Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corporation). Brown argued that he was exposed to asbestos while working and decided to sue after being diagnosed with asbestosis as a result of exposure. The jury awarded Thomas Brown over $320 million in damages, after becoming severely disabled due to asbestos exposure.

Chemical Companies

Dozens of chemical plant companies have had legal action taken against them for the exposure of asbestos to chemical plant workers. These companies include but are not limited to:

  • Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
  • Dow Chemical Co.
  • General Electric Company
  • Rogers Corporation
  • Hill Brothers Chemical
  • Durez Corporation

Legal Compensation

Due to the severity of the detrimental health problems associated with asbestos exposure in chemical plants, there is available compensation for victims of exposure and their families. If you or a family member believe that you may have been exposed to asbestos while working at a chemical plant seek medical attention immediately. 

Chemical plant companies and manufacturers that are responsible for occupational exposure are required to pay for expenses such as medical expenses, personal damages, loss of income, and more. Speak with a mesothelioma attorney to discuss your options for compensation and how to get started.

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Reviewed by Samuel Meirowitz

Attorney and On-Site Legal Advocate

Samuel Meirowitz is a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.” Mr. Meirowitz was named a “Rising Star” in 2013 & 2014 by Super Lawyers and then a Super Lawyer every year since 2016. In 2013, Mr. Meirowitz obtained what is believed to be the first multi-million-dollar asbestos verdict seen in more than two decades in a New York federal court. In that highly contentious matter, Mr. Meirowitz was able to convince the jury to hold a boiler manufacturer responsible for 60 percent of the $3.8 million awarded, despite the defendant’s attempt to escape all blame by pointing fingers at the plaintiff’s employer and the U.S. Navy (in which the plaintiff admirably served from 1966-70 during the Vietnam conflict). This verdict was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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