Asbestos Exposure at Louisiana Chemical Plants
The characteristics that made asbestos so appealing for building projects are the same characteristics that make this material so dangerous to people. Asbestos is made from silicates, which are minerals that are extremely resistant to heat and chemicals, and cannot be broken down within a living body. The properties that make asbestos ideal for insulating structures such as chemical plants also meant many unfortunate side effects to the health of many who worked in these plants.
Asbestos Use in Louisiana Chemical Plants
Due to its heat-resistance and the fact that it is resistant to reactive chemicals, asbestos was widely used in chemical plants throughout Louisiana. Even after some of the dangers of asbestos had been discovered, the asbestos industry began marketing a form of asbestos known as chrysotile to chemical plants as a safe and environmentally friendly form of asbestos. This type of asbestos was often used in the construction of chemical plants, and as a protective coating for countertops, equipment, and even protective laboratory clothing. Even though this form of asbestos was supposed to be safe and protective for chemical plants, in reality it was just as hazardous as other forms of asbestos.
Friable Asbestos in Chemical Plants
The argument for asbestos in chemical plants was often that as long as the asbestos was not disturbed, it was not a hazard. When the asbestos was first installed within chemical plants in the form of a solid and sturdy coating over counters, pipes, or equipment, it was considered safe. However, as the asbestos aged, it became friable, which is a state when the asbestos becomes brittle and crumbles easily. The friable asbestos would easily enter the air, as well as the lungs.
The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Even the so called safe form of asbestos, chrysotile, which was used in Louisiana chemical plants for decades, has been found to be a cause of extremely serious health conditions. All forms of asbestos contain fibers and minerals that cannot be broken down by the human body like a virus or bacteria would be. Instead, when the lungs inhale asbestos, the result is serious, sometimes fatal damage.
Individuals who worked in chemical plants throughout New Orleans or Louisiana were likely exposed to asbestos, and as a result, could have developed scarring within the lungs, or even life threatening diseases such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to these dangerous building materials. Click here to read more about mesothelioma.
If you worked in a Louisiana chemical plant, there is a good possibility that you may have exposed to these dangerous building materials. If you would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced, qualified asbestos attorney, please contact us today.