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Oil Refineries and Asbestos

DATE: June 13th, 2024

Reviewed and edited by David Halpern

Key Takeaways:

  • Oil refineries are a common place for asbestos exposure
  • There are not many safety precautions in place for workers
  • Asbestos exposure can eventually lead to respiratory conditions
  • Oil refineries should take greater precautions to protect their workers

Asbestos in Oil Refineries

Asbestos is commonly used in oil refineries and oil fields. Due to the high flammability of oil, the heat resistant and fire-proof properties of asbestos made it an ideal substance to work with. Mainly, it was used in the construction of these sites and occupational equipment. A study found that most workers—up to 90%– have been in direct contact with asbestos while working. This study also mentioned that the exposed workers were not protected in any way while they were interacting with asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Not just workers are subject to the dangers of asbestos. Locals who live around oil refineries are exposed to asbestos as well. Asbestos does not just affect those who handle it firsthand. When oil refinery workers go home after a shift, asbestos fibers may be caked onto their clothing. When the clothes are washed, whoever is handling them could inhale the fibers as well. This secondhand exposure could cause respiratory issues.


Effects of Asbestos Exposure

As mentioned earlier, asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma or lung cancer. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can accumulate in the lungs and cause tumors in the organ lining. Asbestos not only can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer, but also asbestosis. Symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and cough. Mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on the affected organ: lungs, heart, or testes. Mesothelioma must be diagnosed by a medical practitioner. The effects of asbestos inhalation are not realized immediately. Usually, the symptoms begin to present themselves years after exposure. It is important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible after symptoms develop.


Oil refineries should take greater responsibility and precautions for their workers’ health. The long-term effects of exposure to asbestos can be life threatening.


If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the experienced team at The Halpern Law Firm can help you file a claim and receive compensation. The dedicated attorneys will ensure your claim is handled properly and quickly. Call 1-(800)-505-6000 or visit our website to get in contact with us.



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