Power plants are responsible for the electricity that powers, heats and lights cities. Due to the immense heat and risk of electrical shock, many power plants in every state in the US contain asbestos. Asbestos, a naturally occurring soft metal, poses extremely high risk for mesothelioma and asbestosis. Many powerhouse workers may not realize that they are working in close proximity to asbestos, as it is still commonly found in buildings built before 1989.
The reason asbestos was used extensively between the 1920s and 1989 was because of the material’s natural resistance to heat, electrical conductivity and it’s high tensile strength. However, manufacturers and other companies that relied on asbestos have long known that asbestos posed a serious risk to workers who were exposed to its microscopic fibers. Asbestos fibers can be released into the air by drilling, grinding, sawing or otherwise working on asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Asbestos can also be released into the air if an ACM decays over time and is disturbed.
Materials and parts that contain asbestos in power plants include:
- Gaskets and Valves
- Pipe Insulation
- Electrical Insulation
- Block Insulation
The visible effects of mesothelioma and asbestosis may not occur until decades after exposure. The symptoms of these conditions include:
- Wet Cough
- Abdominal Pain
- Coughing Blood
- Loss of Appetite
- Muscle Weakness and Fatigue
- Weight Loss
- Difficulty Swallowing
After Asbestos Exposure
If you have a reasonable suspicion that you’ve been exposed to asbestos, stop working and inform your supervisor immediately. The sooner you seek help from a medical professional, the more damage you will be able to mitigate.
Options are available for people who’ve been exposed to asbestos, and have suffered financial, physical or emotional pain as a result. Your first step should be to collect evidence and records of your damages in a process the legal field refers to as “discovery.” This means you should look for and hold onto any evidence that you were exposed to asbestos, developed any illness or disease as a result of asbestos exposure, and that someone knew asbestos was present at the time of your exposure. This “discovery” process can simply be a portfolio of medical records, work and abatement reports, bills, emails, witness testimonies (make sure to keep contact information for any possible witnesses), even journals that record your experiences relating to asbestos exposure and treatment could be used to strengthen your case.
Your next step is to contact and retain an experienced asbestos-injury lawyer. There are two reasons to retain a professional asbestos-injury lawyer: 1) Mesothelioma and treatment can be debilitating, and your job after exposure is to focus on your treatment. An experienced asbestos-injury lawyer will take care of all the heavy-lifting of your case so you don’t have to. 2) Asbestos-injury lawyers are professionals. They have a team of investigators and experts who will uncover further evidence and testimony to strengthen your case. Finding who’s responsible for your damages can be complicated because the exposure typically happened many years ago. The company that installed the ACMs may not even exist and certainly won’t volunteer responsibility for your exposure.