Asbestos is a counteragent for heat. Therefore, it made sense to use asbestos anywhere heat was a concern: homes, offices, Navy ships, automobiles and more.
Aluminum smelting plants were obvious locations as well.
While asbestos kept aluminum smelting plants, and appliances within, from structural fire damage, the mineral likely gave many plant workers mesothelioma. The rare cancer is caused by asbestos — and asbestos alone. So the reliance on the substance created a health risk for many American workers.
How Asbestos Was Used in Aluminum Smelting Plants
Aluminum smelting is the extraction of aluminum from its oxide, alumina. The process involves dissolving alumina at more than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps create aluminum metal.
Since the process requires high temperatures, corrosive chemicals and high-voltage electricity, there’s always a risk of overheating appliances or an accident occurring that sets fire to the refinery. Asbestos insulated the refinery, along with different appliances, such as the pot used for smelting.
Some workers’ protective clothing even contained asbestos, an effort to protect them that inadvertently put them in close contact with the carcinogen.
An article in Chemical Agents and Related Occupations listed the exposures within aluminum production plants. Asbestos was among a large number of hazardous materials, including sulfur dioxide, aluminum fluoride and carbon monoxide.
Mesothelioma From Aluminum Smelting Plants
If asbestos is part of the occupation, then there’s a link between the job and mesothelioma.
Loose asbestos fibers travel through the body and irritate cells in sensitive linings. These linings include mesothelial cells, which when cancerous become mesothelioma.
Disturbance to asbestos causes the mineral to splinter. This leads to loose fibers floating in the oxygen. The result is exposure for aluminum smelting workers with asbestos in their protective gear or working near equipment coated in asbestos.
If you worked in an aluminum production plant and have mesothelioma, we can assist and answer your questions. You probably have a viable legal case against the company that produced asbestos and sold it to aluminum plants and other companies. Email our legal expert, Carl Jewett, at email@example.com.
Sources & Author
- Occupational Exposures During Aluminum Production. Chemical Agents and Related Occupations. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304404/. Accessed: 03/17/2021.
Sources & Author