Dow Chemical Company employees exposed to asbestos
In addition to using tremendous amounts of asbestos during the last century, Dow Chemical Company is also notorious for manufacturing napalm and Agent Orange. Because the U.S. would drop napalm bombs on North Vietnam during the war, napalm was essential. Even though other companies decided to cease producing it at a certain point, Dow Chemical Company refused to stop manufacturing the volatile petrochemical.
When it comes to asbestos, a very important piece of news worth sharing is the verdict obtained by Sidney Mabile, a former worker who had developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure on the job. The company was hit with a whopping $5.95 million verdict in 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The largest chemical plant of Dow Chemical Company was located in Plaquemine, Louisiana, where Mabile used to work.
Alarmingly, certain sources claim that Dow Chemical Company is still using asbestos today, despite the fact that the employment of this carcinogenic mineral ceased at the end of the last century. The use of asbestos is prohibited for the manufacturing of new products, but the company is perhaps able to get away with using it because they do not make products per se, but chemicals that serve as ingredients in final products. According to these sources, the processing is 10% less expensive with asbestos use for Dow Chemical Company than it would be if they used a safe alternative.
The following occupational groups were exposed to asbestos by this company during the last century, as they were not required to wear protective equipment since the asbestos companies were striving to promote it as a safe mineral:
Because working in a chemical plant implies high temperatures, asbestos was crucial, as it has extraordinary resistance to extreme heat and fire. Furthermore, asbestos is also resistant to chemical corrosion, which made companies in this industry even more eager to use it. Chemical engineers, technicians, and other workers manufacture a wide range of products, including basic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, soap, resins, synthetic rubber, and artificial synthetic fibers and filaments. Producing these requires working with heat and chemicals that could harm employees if they are not wearing personal protective equipment.
However, even the protective gear chemical plant workers would wear during the last century was made of asbestos, as the fibers of the mineral would be woven into the fabric to offer durability and fireproof the equipment. The protective gear worn by chemical plant workers refers to aprons, gloves, and masks. They would also use blankets and cloth with asbestos to handle various hot components or machinery. Lastly, these employees would also be exposed to asbestos from insulation, as the mineral was also used to manufacture laboratory countertops resistant to heat and chemical reactions, being found in laboratory ovens as a liner and insulation.