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Mesothelioma Lawyers, Asbestos Drilling Mud Exposure Claims
Thanks to its bonding properties and resistance to heat, asbestos was a popular additive to the drilling mud used on both offshore and land-based oil rigs from the 1960s through 1989.
Many Alabama workers who mixed and handled drilling mud, however, were neither aware of the presence of asbestos nor supplied with appropriate breathing protection. Because the severe health problems caused by asbestos exposure can take decades to become evident, an increasing number of workers who had regular contact with asbestos-tainted drilling mud are now suffering from lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
The Mobile, Alabama, mesothelioma attorneys of Long & Waite, P.C., are committed to helping asbestos poisoning victims and their families recover the financial compensation they need and deserve.
Asbestos Additives in Drilling Mud
Drilling mud is a mix of dirt and chemical additives used in oil drilling to help flush debris from the hole and cool the drill bit. For nearly three decades, the most common additives were white, flaky powders consisting of either pure asbestos or asbestos mixed with other compounds.
Most brands of asbestos-based additives came in 50-pound bags and were labeled with one of the following brand names:
- Diaseal M
Oil rig workers used these additives daily to form a thick, cohesive substance that cycled through the drills to provide pressure, prevent fluids from entering the bore hole, keep the drill bit cool and clean, and force drill cuttings from the hole.
Workers Affected by Asbestos Drilling Mud
Asbestos-based drilling mud additives were handled by a wide range of workers on offshore and land-based oil rigs. The positions most frequently exposed to asbestos include:
- Mud engineers
- Assistant drillers
Family members of workers who handled asbestos may also face asbestos-related health problems due to repeated incidental contact. Many oil rig workers at the time were not supplied with protective clothing, and fibers and powder from the asbestos-based additives frequently lingered on clothing.
Asbestos-Related Medical Conditions
Although the medical problems associated with asbestos exposure are severe and often deadly, they take years to manifest themselves. Symptoms such as chest pain, coughing, wheezing and hoarseness may initially seem minor or be attributed to conditions not related to asbestos poisoning.
The most common illnesses caused by asbestos exposure are:
- Asbestosis: A breathing disorder triggered by a buildup of asbestos fibers in the lungs and resulting in respiratory problems, chest pain, coughing and lung-tissue scarring
- Lung cancer: Cancer that forms in the lungs and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
- Mesothelioma: An aggressive cancer that targets the mesothelium, which is the layer of tissue that covers many vital organs, including the lungs and heart
Contamination from asbestos occurs when the particle fibers or dust from asbestos are inhaled and lodge in the lungs. The particles accumulate with repeated or prolonged exposure, eventually leading to chronic and deadly health problems.
If you or a family member worked with drilling mud during the 1960s through the 1980s and suffer from asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, please contact the skilled Mobile, Alabama, asbestos attorneys at Long & Waite, P.C., for a free case evaluation.