Throughout much of its history, Salt Lake City and the surrounding area depended on mining, transportation, steel manufacturing, and oil extraction and refining to drive the local economy. These enterprises were essential in Utah’s development, but they also contributed to the growing national problem of the asbestos exposure and its adverse health effects.
If you or a loved one have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in Salt Lake City, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
The Railways and Mines; Salt Lake City’s Asbestos Connections
Mining and railway operations not only disturbed naturally-occurring asbestos deposits in the region, but much of the equipment involved contained heat-resisting parts and insulation made with processed asbestos. Thousands of miners and other workers were constantly exposed to asbestos dust and fibers. As a consequence, many of these workers developed asbestos-related diseases such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis.
The connection between Salt Lake City and the railroads earned Utah’s state capital the nickname “Crossroads of the West.” The Transcontinental Railroad, which connects the East Coast to the West, was completed in 1869 at Promontory Point, 80 miles away from Salt Lake City. Other railroad lines were later laid down to connect Salt Lake City to the main cross-country routes. This made the area a focal point for railroad activity and contributed to Salt Lake City’s growth and modernization. However, with the arrival of the railways, the problem of asbestos began to affect the community.
Trains, especially those with steam-powered locomotives, have used asbestos-containing parts and products since their introduction in the 19th Century. Prized for their heat-resistant and fireproofing capabilities, asbestos minerals were liberally applied to locomotives as insulation. Asbestos materials were also used to make locomotives’ brake shoes and heat-resistant lining for the engines’ steam pipes and boilers. Thus, many railway workers, including engineers and maintenance personnel, were constantly exposed to airborne asbestos fibers.
As with other parts of the Western U.S., Salt Lake City and the surrounding area depended on mining as a key element of the economy from the 1860s until the 1920s. Many canyons around Salt Lake City were excavated by mining companies for gold, silver, lead, and copper, and huge smelters were built to refine the ores removed from the rocks and earth. While these endeavors made many mining companies and their investors wealthy and boosted the city’s tax base, they also exposed thousands of workers to dangerous amounts of asbestos.
A myriad of miners inhaled asbestos dust that was kicked up into the air by excavation processes used to remove rocks, soil, and mineral ores. Other workers, including employees of the smelting facilities that refined the raw ores from the mines, came in contact with asbestos cloth, insulation, and other man-made products made from the fibrous minerals. Although these asbestos products were intended to protect the smelters’ workers from the dangers of fire and high temperatures, they caused many cases of asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Other Salt Lake City Industries With Asbestos Connections
Asbestos was used by numerous other industries that contributed to the growth and modernization of Salt Lake City. Construction companies and other businesses involved in creating and maintaining infrastructure were among the biggest asbestos users, which was often used as an additive to make building materials fireproof and more durable.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. construction companies used a wide array of building materials containing variable amounts of asbestos. These include asphalt floor tiles, cement pipes, construction mastics, decorative plaster, textured paints and coatings, and wallboard. From the 19th Century until the late 1970s, these asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used to build most of Salt Lake City’s government buildings, hospitals, schools, auto repair shops, apartment buildings, and single family homes.
Electric power companies also used large quantities of asbestos. Power plants applied ACMs to heavy machinery and electrical wiring as insulation, and workers often used electrical cloth tape, fire blankets, asbestos cloth work gloves, or thermal paper products. These products frequently shed asbestos fibers as they deteriorated with the passage of time. These tasteless and odorless fibers floated into the air and were easily inhaled or swallowed by employees and visitors in the power plants.
Asbestos’ lightweight and heat-resistant properties were also prized by the transportation industry. Automobile makers and aircraft manufacturers incorporated friction products such as brake linings and clutch pads in cars, trucks, and airplanes. Though this made many vehicles less prone to catch fire or suffer friction-related damage, it also exposed large numbers of transportation workers to friable asbestos fibers. Many auto repairmen, bus depot employees, and aviation mechanics have suffered the devastating effects of asbestos-related illnesses as a result of this exposure.
Salt Lake City Job Sites and Buildings Associated with Asbestos
Since asbestos use lasted throughout much of Salt Lake City’s growth as Utah’s state capital and main industrial and financial center, there are many job sites and buildings associated with asbestos. Most of these sites are connected to Salt Lake City’s oil and mining enterprises, but they also include non-industrial locations, such as schools, hospitals, and local asbestos-related businesses.
- St. Mark’s Hospital
- Intermountain LDS Hospital
- Utah State Hospital
- Dr. W.H. Groves Latter Day Saints Hospital
- East High School
- West High School
- South High School (Closed in 1988)
- Highland High School
- Roosevelt Junior High School
Petroleum Industrial Sites
- BP Amoco Utah
- Chevron Utah
- Standard Oil Refining – Salt Lake City
- Sinclair Oil Corporation
Mining and Smelting
- Kennecott Copper Mine
- Centennial Eureka Mine
- Flagstaff Mine
- Bingham Canyon Mine
- Garfield Smelting
- Utah Power & Light (Pacificorp)
- Jordan Steam Electric Station
Insulation and Asbestos Related Companies
- Bullough Asbestos Supply Company
- Interstate Brick Company
- Dhro Insulation
- Skyline Insulation
Mesothelioma Treatment Centers in Salt Lake City
The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), located in Salt Lake City, is part of the University of Utah Health Care System and a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center. It serves patients from a multi-state region that includes the state of Utah and parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and Montana. HCI’s mesothelioma treatment team is led by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Amit N. Patel.
Huntsman Cancer Institute – University of Utah Health Care System
2000 Circle of Hope
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Phone: (801) 585-0303
Getting Legal Help in Salt Lake City
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to compensation to cover pain, suffering, medical costs, lost wages, and more. 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 toll-free at 800-793-4540.