Houston is the largest city in Texas and one of the state’s key economic centers. Its population of 2,160,821 provides the area’s wide variety of industries with one of the largest workforces in the U.S. Its main industry is energy production, particularly oil, gas extraction, and refining.
Other major industries include shipbuilding, aeronautics, and biomedical research. Because these industries used asbestos in their facilities for much of the 20th Century, many workers in the Houston area were exposed to the toxic fibrous minerals. As a result of this exposure, thousands of individuals who worked in Houston job sites have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma cancer.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for significant compensation. Right now, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds for people who have been affected by asbestos. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in Houston, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.
Major Houston Job Sites With Known Asbestos Issues
Throughout much of the 20th Century, Houston was home to various energy production and heavy industrial manufacturing enterprises that used asbestos-containing materials for various safety-related purposes. Oil drilling and refining facilities sprang up around the city after oil was discovered in the area in the early 1900s.
Asbestos was added to oil rigs and other machinery to protect them from the effects of high heat and to prevent fires. Asbestos was also incorporated into pipelines and most of the various components in oil refineries.
Shipyards, too, used large amounts of asbestos during the process of constructing ships. As in the oil industry, shipbuilders such as Todd Shipyards added asbestos-containing materials to almost every part of a vessel. Engine parts, boilers, gaskets, insulation, and even wiring for for electronic devices contained some amount of asbestos to protect vessels, cargo, passengers, and crew from problems which ranged from simple friction damage to life-threatening onboard fires.
Vessels, especially those built during World War II, often contained tons of asbestos within their hulls. When asbestos fibers were airborne in the confined spaces of a ship, crew and passengers unwittingly inhaled or swallowed them. Many of these individuals later developed asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Asbestos use in Houston oil facilities and shipyards decreased gradually after 1973, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued reports which officially connected asbestos exposure to mesothelioma and other deadly illnesses.
Oil rigs, refineries, and shipyards built in Houston after 1980 use alternative materials as insulation or fire retardant. However, because asbestos use was so pervasive for many decades, the long-term effects of prolonged exposure are still surfacing at a nationwide rate of 3,000 mesothelioma diagnoses per year.
Houston Refining (Lyondell-Citgo Refinery)
The Houston Refining facility on the Gulf coast once belonged to Citgo Petroleum, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil company. In the early 2000s, PDVSA sold the refinery to Lyondell Chemical, which renamed the refinery as the Lyondell-Citgo Refinery (LCR).
In 2006, Lyondell purchased Citgo’s share of the facility and renamed it Houston Refining. Regardless of its corporate name, this refinery is one of the job sites most seriously affected by health-related problems. The refinery was built when asbestos was a standard additive to construction materials, and it has been cited as a major source of pollution and incidences of cancer in its work force.
Houston’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico has made the city into a major shipbuilding community. Though many of the companies that operated in the area from 1914 until the late 20th Century have changed names or closed down, they contributed to Houston’s industrial growth during both World Wars and the postwar era.
Thousands of ships were built for civilian operators and for the U.S. Navy, including hundreds of warships and mass-produced Liberty cargo ships used during World War II. The majority of these vessels were constructed with asbestos-containing materials. As a result, shipyard workers and others who worked and lived aboard these ships were exposed to the fibrous minerals for extended periods.
The Houston shipyard area was used by many shipbuilders, including:
- Bloodworth Bond Shipyard
- Brown Shipbuilding Corporation
- Platzer Boat Works
- Schmidt Barge Yard
- Todd-Houston Shipbuilding Corporation/Houston Shipbuilding Corporation
Some of these companies, such as Platzer Boat Works and Todd-Houston Shipbuilding, are either no longer in operation or have changed corporate hands.
Platzer (later Trinity Marine), for instance, built tug boats and tank barges at its Greens Bayou facility from 1925 to 1997. First Wave Marine acquired the shipyard and operated it as a repair yard till it was closed in 2002. Many of the tugs and barges were built with asbestos-based materials and parts. A large number of these vessels are still in service today.
Todd-Houston, along with Houston Shipbuilding, built hundreds of ships during World War II. They specialized in the mass-produced Liberty ships, cargo vessels made from prefabricated components. 208 Liberty ships were built in the Houston area from 1942 to 1945 by the two shipyards.
Currently, Southwest Shipyard is a major provider of repair and refit services for several types of vessels, including barges, ferries, inland boats, offshore supply vessels, and tugboats. Southwest began operating in 1954, during the peak period of asbestos use in U.S. shipyards. Although their Houston-area facilities have participated in asbestos-abatement programs, former employees were exposed to asbestos. In addition, many of the vessels served by the company are older and still may contain high levels of asbestos aboard.
Houston Medical Treatment
Dr. David C. Rice, M.B.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030
Dr. Anne Tsao, MD, Anderson Mesothelioma Program
1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 432
Houston, TX 77030
Dr. Stephen Swisher, MD
1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 1489
Houston, TX 77030
Getting Legal Help in Houston
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for significant compensation. Remember to fill out our from to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on the top asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.