Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Alaska
Alaska has a long industrial history—the state’s top industries include oil and gas, mining, and timber. Unfortunately, these industries and others used asbestos extensively for decades. Even after oil refineries, paper mills, chemical plants, and military bases phased-out asbestos use, workers exposed to asbestos at any point continued to get sick with mesothelioma, a life-threatening cancer, and other serious illnesses. Often, family members of workers were also at risk due to second-hand exposure.
The experienced legal professionals at MesoLawyersCare have successfully recovered money awards for workers and their families who have been harmed by jobsite exposure to asbestos in Alaska and throughout the nation. While individuals can be exposed to asbestos in a number of ways, the following list of worksites in Alaska presented elevated risks for asbestos exposure to workers and their family members.
1. Trans-Alaska Pipeline System – Valdez, AK
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, known as TAPS, is one of the world’s largest crude oil pipeline systems. In the late 1960s, the largest oil strike in the U.S. was discovered underneath Prudhoe Bay in Northern Alaska—the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline began just a few years later. This crude oil pipeline is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline service company. The pipeline carries, on average, 1.8 million barrels of oil a day and has 11 pump stations along the hundreds of miles of pipeline. Asbestos-containing materials are known to have been present at these pump stations. Asbestos was used in building materials and components of the pipeline equipment such as gaskets. Whenever equipment maintenance or repair occurred, there was potential to disturb deteriorating asbestos, causing the particles to become airborne. Airborne asbestos particles put workers at risk of dangerous levels of asbestos exposure which led to serious illnesses including mesothelioma.
2. Collier Carbon and Chemical – Kenia, AK
Collier Carbon and Chemical Plant is a large chemical plant built on the Kenai Peninsula. The plant was built to take advantage of the natural gas reserves in the state. Collier Carbon and Chemical produced chemicals including urea and ammonia and fertilizers. As with other chemical plants built during much of the 20th century, the Collier Carbon and Chemical facility used asbestos-containing materials for a variety of purposes at the plant. Asbestos was used to insulate dryers, pumps, ovens, boilers, furnaces and even pipes. Employees working at the plant were also exposed to asbestos while wearing asbestos containing protective clothing such as masks, jackets, and pants. This also put family members of workers at risk as they were exposed to asbestos simply by living in the same home as a Collier Carbon and Chemical plant workers or laundering the dusty work clothing.
3. Ketchikan Pulp Company – Ketchikan, AK
Located on the banks of Ward Cove, the Ketchikan Pulp Company was a large paper mill. The mill opened in 1954 and was the main economic source for the area for over 40 years—in fact, the mill was part of a U.S. Forest Service program for economic development in the Southeast area of Alaska. Among other products, the mill produced “Tongacell” which was used to manufacture rayon products. The mill finally closed its doors in 1997. Workers at the Ketchikan Pulp Company paper mill are at risk for developing mesothelioma and other serious illnesses due to their continued worksite exposure to asbestos. Paper mills, like Ketchikan Pulp Company, used substantial amounts of asbestos for insulation and sealants for boilers and other machinery because of the high heat generated in the manufacturing process.
4. Sitka Pulp Mill – Sitka, AK
The Sitka Pulp Mill, like the Ketchikan Pulp Company, was also part of a U.S. Forest Service economic development program. The papermill was opened in 1959. Initially, the main purpose of the mill was to produce rayon fabric but also to supply logs to Japan in their rebuilding efforts after World War II. In later years and until its closure in 1993, the mill primarily manufactured paper. Sitka Pulp Mill also used massive amounts of asbestos containing materials primarily because of the need to insulate and seal high-heat machinery used in the paper manufacturing process. Workers at the Sitka Pulp Mill who worked near or repaired this machinery are at increased risk of exposure. Because the effects of asbestos can take years to manifest, employees of the old Sitka Pulp Mill may still be at risk for the development of an asbestos-related illness.
5. Eielson Air Force Base – Fairbanks, AK
Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks became operational in 1943, just before the United States entered World War II. Over the years, the base has been home to several different fighter groups and equipped with many different airplanes. The base is currently home to the 354th Fighter Wing that implements flying operations, mission support, maintenance and medical care functions. Throughout the 20th Century, it was very common to build military planes with asbestos-containing materials that were used in gasket materials, clamps, and brakes, and other aircraft parts. As planes became worn down, military personnel including mechanics and maintenance workers were prone to exposure to dust from new and worn asbestos-containing aircraft parts and thus have an elevated risk for developing mesothelioma.
The attorneys from MesoLawyersCare have recovered more than $10 billion dollars for people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our firms have successfully represented workers and families exposed to asbestos at worksites throughout Alaska. For more information or a free consultation, fill out the form on this page, have a live chat now with one of our representatives, or call us today.
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