Asbestos Exposure in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has a robust oil and gas industry but is known mostly as an agricultural state. Oklahoma has power plants, paper mills and other manufacturing plants that are known to use asbestos in their operations.
Vermiculite and Asbestos
Oklahoma, like many states across the country, also received shipments of asbestos tainted vermiculite from the W.R. Grace Company. Employees who processed the vermiculite were likely exposed to hazardous asbestos fibers and should monitor their health for asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Oil Refineries and Asbestos Exposure
Oil companies and refineries often used asbestos materials as insulation and fire retardant on equipment and machinery. Workers responsible for operating, maintaining or repairing asbestos-insulated equipment may have been exposed to toxic asbestos fibers.
Several refining companies in Oklahoma were designated as Superfund sites by the Environmental Protection Agency because of asbestos contamination. The Hudson Refinery site in Cushing, Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Refining Company in Cyril, Oklahoma were listed as Superfund sites and had to undergo extensive asbestos cleanup.
Aircraft Maintenance and Asbestos
Employees working in the airline maintenance industry in Tulsa, Oklahoma may have been exposed to asbestos-containing brakes, insulation, and gaskets. Current regulations do not allow asbestos materials to be used, but older airplanes may still have parts that contain asbestos.
Asbestos in Buildings
Older buildings in Oklahoma were likely constructed with asbestos-containing materials, such as insulation, flooring and ceiling tiles. Construction and maintenance workers should use the proper safety equipment and follow the proper asbestos removal procedures when working in these older facilities.
Terry McCann and Mesothelioma
Terry McCann, an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2005. McCann said he was exposed to asbestos while working in an oil refinery during a boiler installation. McCann said he breathed in asbestos during the installation process and filed a lawsuit against Foster Wheeler, the boiler manufacturer. McCann’s lawsuit did not proceed because the statute of limitations had expired. He died from mesothelioma in 2006, but his experience brought a lot of attention to the deadly disease and the dangers of asbestos.