Wyoming is home to naturally occurring asbestos deposits, however they have never been mined. Although there is a possibility of asbestos exposure from the deposits, it is highly unlikely as they are located in places that are not heavily populated. Because of this, asbestos exposure in Wyoming is more likely to occur in an industrial setting.
Asbestos Exposure in Wyoming
Although the natural deposits in Wyoming have never been touched, Wyoming residents are still subjected to asbestos exposure through the following industries:
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Chemical plants
Asbestos can be found within insulation materials throughout the plants and other commercial and private buildings, the machinery, and even in the clothing worn by the workers. Asbestos fibers were considered an ideal material to be woven into the protective clothing worn by the workers because of its resistance to heat, friction and fire.
Cities in Wyoming With Asbestos Exposure Problems
Did you live or work in the cities and towns below? If so, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Generally, you need to be exposed to asbestos for extended periods of time to be at elevated risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, but it depends upon the intensity of the exposure. If you suspect that you were exposed to asbestos for any length of time in these areas, please get checked by a medical professional annually.
- Green River
Oil Refineries and Asbestos Exposure in Wyoming
Wyoming has been an oil producing state for decades, with the Teapot Dome area being one of many oil-rich lands in the state that was reserved for use by the Navy. Several oil refineries are active in the state, including:
Workers who are on staff at oil refineries, especially going back many years, are at higher risk for asbestos exposure. Oil is highly flammable and toxic even in the crude form. To protect oil and gas workers, much of the machinery and equipment in oil refineries was insulated with asbestos. Asbestos also was used for years to line the clothing that the workers wore.
While using asbestos in this fashion did save lives and spared injuries, a 2003 study in the UK found that 28,000 oil refinery workers were at higher risk of mesothelioma, especially those who worked specifically in the oil refining process.
Damaging Effects of Asbestos Exposure
Although asbestos is composed of durable, flame resistant fibers that were once considered an ideal material, it has been the source of countless illnesses and deaths in Wyoming and throughout the U.S. As the asbestos fibers separate and break apart, which often occurs in an industrial environment, they become easy to swallow and ingest.
Once they are swallowed, the durable fibers accumulate in the lining of the lungs, stomach or heart and overtime lead to fatal diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and lung cancer. Individuals who worked in Wyoming oil refineries, power or chemical plants are at the greatest risk of developing an asbestos disease.
Power Plants and Asbestos in Wyoming
Power plants often are sources of asbestos exposure, and Wyoming has many examples of this problem. For example the Black Hills Power facility in Osage was built in the 1950s with asbestos insulation around the boilers. Anyone who worked there before 1993 could have been exposed to asbestos for long periods. By 1993, an abatement project was finished, and while there were areas of encapsulated asbestos, the facility was declared safe at that time.
Also, the Dave Johnston Power Plant was constructed with asbestos insulation around the boilers.
Any workers who worked at these plants before the 1990s should be checked for asbestos related diseases every year by a doctor.
Mesothelioma Statistics in Wyoming
From 1980 to 2000, there were 67 mesothelioma deaths reported in this state. Most of the fatalities were around the towns of Cheyenne, Laramie and Casper. It is possible that more deaths occurred, as mesothelioma was not always listed as cause of death prior to 1999 in many states; at that time, mesothelioma was often referred to on death certificates as ‘lung cancer.’
Getting Legal Help from asbestos Attorneys
If you or someone you know worked in an asbestos industry and have developed an asbestos caused disease, it is important for you to speak with a legal professional who will help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact mesothelioma centers today to speak with an experienced Wyoming asbestos attorney.