Power plants are massive facilities that generate and distribute energy across the nation to businesses, residences, and other structures. The development of these plants helped spur the growth of America during the twentieth century. But, along the way, they caused workers to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can lead to serious health complications, like mesothelioma and other cancers.
Asbestos and Power Plants
Power plants generate and harness useable power and, in the process, generate tremendous amounts of heat. As a result, the risk of potential fire is a major concern. Historically, asbestos was used to help mitigate this risk. Asbestos is a poor conductor of electricity and is resistant to heat and fire. Because of this, asbestos was widely used in insulation materials, which went into walls, wires, pipes, generators, and other machinery. Asbestos was effective at helping to prevent fire and overheating.
The use of asbestos was especially high in plants that produced electricity and in power distribution centers. During the standard operation of these facilities, asbestos fibers were often released into the air. Other places related to power plants in which asbestos was used included transformer stations, lignite mining plants, and off-site workshops.
Further placing workers in power plants at risk was the specific clothing they wore while at work. Power plant workers wear special insulated, protective clothing that, until the 1980s, also contained asbestos. Unfortunately, though many employers were generally aware of the risks of exposure to asbestos, they frequently did not inform workers of those risks.
Plant workers that were most at risk were blue collar workers. These included individuals who installed and/or maintained pipes and electrical appliances in the plant. Additionally, work involving the upgrading of machinery was dangerous, as it involved the cutting and sawing of products that contained asbestos. Further, many plant workers sprayed asbestos pulp directly onto heated materials, potentially causing exposure. Today, exposure to asbestos fibers is much more controlled and limited, though it may still occur in older plants or in plants that have not had asbestos-containing materials removed.
When asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers into the air that can be breathed into the lungs. Exposure to these fibers, particularly over a long period of time, can result in the development of cancer or other serious diseases. The symptoms of the exposure may not appear for several years, or even decades. Therefore, individuals who worked in power plants many years ago, particularly before the 1980s, may have suffered life-threatening exposure to asbestos fibers, with the symptoms just now being diagnosed.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, it may be possible for you to recover much-needed compensation to help with your medical battle. For more information about how this may be possible, speak with the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We provide compassionate and expert representation for victims of asbestos exposure.