Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Wyoming
Asbestos, a naturally occurring heat resistant mineral, is was once used frequently in industries throughout the United States, and industries in Wyoming were no exception. The large power, chemical, and oil industries in the state often used asbestos when machinery and production processes required high temperatures. Unfortunately, this put the health of their workers at risk as exposure to asbestos causes cancer, including mesothelioma, and other, often-fatal illnesses. Even though regulations finally limited the use of asbestos in the United States in the 1980s, many Wyoming residents may still be at risk for developing an asbestos-related illness.
If you have suffered a workplace illness from exposure to asbestos, even if the exposure was several decades ago, you’re likely entitled to compensation. The attorneys at MesoLawyersCare have recovered large awards for workers and their families who have been injured by worksite exposure to asbestos throughout Wyoming and the United States. The following five worksites present some of the most elevated risks for asbestos exposure to past and present workers in Wyoming.
1. General Chemical – Green River, WY
Beginning in the 1960s, General Chemical ran a soda ash mine and refinery in Green River, Wyoming. Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, has many uses from water softener to swimming pools, to taxidermy and glass making. Over the years, General Chemical became the world’s fifth largest producer of soda ash and the second largest soda ash producer in North America. In 2008, the company sold to Tata Chemicals, a soda ash company based in India. During most of the 20th century, whenever high temperatures were a danger, manufacturing companies and refineries used asbestos throughout the facility. Because asbestos is heat resistant it was used in components of large equipment, pumps, valves, insulation in piping, floor and ceiling tiles, and even protective clothing. While asbestos protected against heat, because of it’s a carcinogen, it put the health of General Chemical workers at risk of developing serious illnesses including mesothelioma.
2. Sinclair Casper Refinery – Casper, WY
The Sinclair Casper Refinery refines sweet crude oil from the Rocky Mountain region. In 1923, the refinery opened (then owned by White Eagle) making it the one of the oldest refineries in the Rocky Mountains still in operation. It was acquired by Sinclair in 1968 and has the capacity to produce 25,000 barrels of oil a day. The Sinclair Casper refinery, similar to other refineries during the 20th century, used large quantities of asbestos-containing materials for insulation purposes throughout their facilities. Sadly, another similarity among oil refineries that used asbestos was an unwillingness by the company (and the product manufacturers and suppliers) to take precautionary measures to protect the health of their workers, even when the dangers of asbestos were indisputable. As a result, many unsuspecting refinery workers were exposed asbestos and put at risk for developing serious illnesses later in life.
3. Jim Bridger Steam Plant – Point of Rocks, WY
Named after the famous mountain man Jim Bridger, the Jim Bridger Steam Plant is a coal-fired power plant commissioned in the early 1970s. Within five years, the plant added three more units on its 1,000-acre site. At the Jim Bridger Steam plant, coal is burned by a boiler 20 stories tall to produce steam at nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Pipes then carry that steam to the turbine to turn it to produce electricity. As was common in Power Plants built prior to the 1980s, Asbestos was used in many ways throughout the plant because of the high temperatures involved in electricity production. This abundant use of asbestos exposed insulators, machinists, pipefitters, engineers, and other workers to dangerous levels of the fibrous material. Those exposed to asbestos while working at the Jim Bridger Steam Plant may be at risk of developing asbestos diseases including mesothelioma.
4. Naughton Plant – Kemmerer, WY
The three-unit Naughton Plant is coal-fired power plant on 1,120 acres in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The first unit was built in 1963 with two additional units built by 1970. The plant is owned and operated by PacifiCorp and can generate 700 megawatts of power.
Like other mid-20th century power plants, workers at Naughton Plant were regularly exposed to asbestos in insulation, gaskets, packing, piping, equipment, and even in protective gear. Power plants favored asbestos for its insulating and sealing qualities. However, as asbestos aged, and was disturbed by routine maintenance, it frequently became airborne resulting in a severe hazard. Workers inhaled this dust, and often carried it home on their clothing, exposing their families to the toxic particles. Through no fault of their own, past PacifiCorp plant workers and their family members, were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with asbestos related illnesses.
5. Dave Johnston Power Plant – Glenrock, WY
Dave Johnston Plant is named for W.D. “Dave” Johnston, a former PacifiCorp vice president. In 1958, PacifiCorp investigated a coal seam in Glenrock and discovered it was a perfect location for generating low cost power. The plant was a huge boost to the local economy. Built on 2,500 acres, the plant has 3 units with a production capacity of over 760 megawatts and burns approximately 4 million tons of coal per year. Older Power plants, like the Dave Johnston plant, were powered by massive pieces of high-heat, power-generating equipment that required the use of asbestos to function properly. Before its use was phased out in the late 1980s, asbestos was used as a sealing material and insulation throughout the plant and in equipment components because of its heat resistant characteristics. However, asbestos was extremely dangerous for the workers at the plant. Airborne asbestos dust exposure can result in serious illnesses, including mesothelioma. Because of inadequate warnings, the health of the Dave Johnston Power Plant workers was put at risk and their families were also endangered due to secondhand exposure.
The attorneys from MesoLawyersCare have won more than $10 billion dollars for people with mesothelioma and their families. Our firms have successfully represented workers exposed to asbestos at worksites in Wyoming and throughout the United States. For more information or a free consultation, fill out the form on this website page, have a live chat now with one of our dedicated representatives, or call our offices now.
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