Texas is the top producing state for crude oil and natural gas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), the state of Texas produces 26% of all the crude oil in the nation. In September 2012, Texas was extracting at least 2 million barrels of oil a day. Various oil companies operate 26 active refineries that process crude and distill it into gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel and aviation gas.
This important economic industry has put workers and residents at risk of asbestos exposure. Many of these facilities were built with materials laced with asbestos fibers before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) linked the mineral to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer. An experienced Texas mesothelioma lawyer can help asbestos victims get the compensation to which they are entitled.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in Texas, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
We help asbestos victims throughout the entire state of Texas, including, but not limited to, the following cities:
Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Ft. Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano, Laredo, Lubbock, Garland, Irving, Amarillo, Grand Prairie, Brownsville, Pasadena, McKinney, Mesquite, Killeen, Frisco, McAllen, Waco, Carrollton, Midland, Denton, Abilene, Beaumont, Odessa, Round Rock, Wichita Falls, Richardson, Lewisville, Tyler, Pearland, College Station, San Angelo, Allen, League City, Sugarland, Longview, Mission, Edinburg, Bryan, Baytown, Pharr, Temple, Missouri City, Flower Mound, North Richland Hills, Harlingen, Victoria, New Braunfels, Conroe, Cedar Park, Mansfield, Rowlett, Georgetown, Port Arthur, San Marcos, Pflugerville, Euless, De Soto, Grapevine, Galveston, Bedford, Cedar Hill, Texas City, Wylie, Haltom City, Keller, Rockwall, Burleson, Coppell, Huntsville, Duncanville, The Colony, Sherman, Hurst, Lancaster, Friendswood, Texarkana, Weslaco, Lufkin, Schertz, San Juan, Del Rio, La Porte, Nacogdoches, Deer Park, Rosenberg, Copperas Cove, Little Elm, Soccoro, Kyle, Leander, Farmers Branch, Waxahachie, Cleburn, and South Lake.
Texas Oil and Asbestos
Hundreds of the Texas oil production facilities were built using large amounts of asbestos-containing materials. this mineral’s natural resistance to the two biggest hazards in the petrochemical industry, fire and heat, made it a desirable building material. Insulation made from asbestos was used to line pipes and conduits, distillation columns, gaskets, and work surfaces. This helped to protect oil wells and refineries from fires and explosions. Asbestos was also used in firefighters’ gear.
When asbestos insulation ages, it becomes extremely brittle and begins to flake easily. As a result, the loose asbestos fibers become airborne if disturbed by activities such as hammering and sawing near deposits of asbestos dust. The fibers can then be inhaled by anyone in the vicinity.
Asbestos fibers build up over time inside the soft tissue of the lungs and chest cavity. The accumulation of asbestos fibers results in the development of asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related diseases in some people.
The large amount of asbestos-containing materials found in aging oil production facilities is a major public health issue in Texas. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the death rate in Texas linked to malignant mesothelioma is an average of 17.5 per million inhabitants, higher than in many other regions and states.
The principal operators of Texas refineries and oil wells in Texas are:
Though there are no materials containing asbestos in facilities built after the 1980s, there are still many older oil rigs and refineries with asbestos that remains in the insulation, ceiling material, dry wall, pipes, conduits, and gaskets. Employee and contractors in these older facilities were often exposed to asbestos fibers when they carried out routine maintenance tasks. Texas now has strict rules that govern the use of safety equipment and the handling of asbestos. However, many oil industry workers who were exposed before the 1980s are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Other Sources of Asbestos
Many manufacturers, energy producers, and shipbuilding companies own and operate factories, power generation plants, and shipyards in Texas. Though some were built after asbestos was classified as a health risk and are asbestos-free, several older ones have been active since the 1930s. These older facilities are still full of asbestos fibers.
Ships built in Texas from the early 1900s to the early 1970s used asbestos in many components, but especially as insulation to prevent shipboard fires. Shipyard engineers, pipefitters, dockyard workers, maintenance workers, sailors, and others were exposed to asbestos fibers in these aging ships and are now at high risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
In addition, numerous automobile plants, aircraft factories, steel mills, military bases, government buildings, apartments, and schools built in Texas before the 1970s have been identified as job sites with a high potential for asbestos exposure. In San Antonio, for instance, there are four Army and Air Force bases in the city limits. There are two more active military bases outside San Antonio, as well as the now-closed Kelly Air Force Base. All of these military facilities still hold significant amounts of materials containing asbestos.
Naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) is also found in various parts of the state, including a large deposit of serpentine minerals near Government Canyon Natural Area, close to San Antonio. NOAs are also found in the Panhandle region of the state. There are no asbestos mines in Texas, but wind and human activity in areas where NAOs are found can cause people to be exposed to asbestos fibers. Although rare, even short exposure to asbestos via wind and other natural movements can be enough to expose victims, increasing the risk of later health issues.
Texas Asbestos Laws
The state of Texas regulates asbestos handling and removal through the Department of State Health Services. It is the sole agency within the state that regulates the policies and procedures regarding the removal of asbestos-containing materials on public property. In addition, there are various regulations regarding the asbestos abatement process in Texas.
- The state of Texas requires property owners to give notice to the state before beginning the process of asbestos removal through either written or verbal notification Building and property owners are also required to have a state-certified inspector perform a site survey and give an assessment of the potential hazards.
- Training and certification for any individual involved in the asbestos removal process must be certified through the state and attend a program that the state of Texas gives approval to. In addition, the individual must also have a physician statement approving them for asbestos-related removal work. Annual state license fees and a $1 million asbestos abatement insurance policy are also required.
- State-certified contractors are required to maintain a work log on asbestos work on all public property. The state keeps record of all work logs for at least 30 years to ensure compliance with state, EPA, and OSHA regulations.
- Texas allows exemptions for state certifications for the removal of asbestos-containing materials on private residences and dwellings with four units or less.
For further information, contact the Texas Asbestos Program’s Division for Regulatory Services at 512-834-6770.
Mesothelioma Lawsuits in Texas
Texas has had more mesothelioma lawsuits filed than any other state. Each state governs how these lawsuits can proceed, and Texas has had to pass more recent laws to manage the influx of cases. Some of these new laws include strict requirements that can prevent a lot of valid asbestos victims from filing and can even reduce the amount of compensation victims receive.
For example, each person filing a mesothelioma lawsuit must already have a physical or functional impairment at the time of filing. Additionally, Texas honors the “Joinder of Claimants,” meaning a dissimilar case can be joined with a mesothelioma case to save time. Furthermore, Texas has the right to limit the liability of the company being sued if the company bought out or merged with a business and assumed its liabilities.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Example
In 2013, a Dallas, Texas, couple successfully won their mesothelioma lawsuit against asbestos mining company Union Carbide. Vernon and Patsy Walker filed the lawsuit after Vernon developed malignant mesothelioma while working around asbestos-containing products manufactured by Union Carbide. The company would send asbestos products to paint manufacturers and other businesses, such as Georgia Pacific, Bondex, and Kelly Moore.
Vernon worked for decades as a union painter, using products filled with asbestos. After jury deliberations, Mr. and Mrs. Walker were awarded $11 million in damages. Union Carbide has been at the center of numerous mesothelioma lawsuits after workers became seriously ill after working with and around the company’s products.
Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001 et seq., plaintiffs filing an asbestos-related lawsuit, which falls under the personal injury statute in Texas, must do so within two years of the discovery of the asbestos-related illness, or within two years from the time it should have been reasonably discovered. Asbestos-related wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s death.
Getting Legal Help in Texas
If you or a loved one suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, remember that you may qualify for financial compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.