The ExxonMobil Oil refinery in Baytown, Texas, is the country’s largest refinery today. It was founded in 1920, when it was run by the company known as the Humble Oil Company. At that time it processed 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
In 1972, Humble Oil’s parent company, Standard Oil of New Jersey, consolidated its various ventures under one name, Exxon, and it became an Exxon refinery.
Since Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, the Baytown refinery has been operated by ExxonMobil, and processes 584,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Around the time of the merger, the refinery underwent enormous expansions, which ExxonMobil did not report to the Environmental Protection Agency, thus earning it a reputation as a polluter and a violator of the Clean Air Act.
In addition to the refinery, ExxonMobil also runs a chemical plant, an olefins plant, a plastics plant, and a technology and engineering complex in Baytown. The refinery employs nearly 4,000 people and is the largest employer in Baytown.
In addition to environmental concerns, the Baytown refinery has long been under scrutiny for the presence of asbestos and other hazardous substances in its building materials. Between the Industrial Revolution and the 1970s, asbestos was a widely used and accepted building material, as it is strong, cheap and readily available.
The Baytown refinery was certainly not the only refinery to utilize the substance, though it did use it extensively. Particularly important for use in an oil refinery, asbestos is heat-resistant and inactive in most chemical reactions. Therefore, it was used in boilers, construction equipment, safety gear, insulation and many other applications. In the 1970s, however, research revealed that asbestos is extremely harmful to the human body, and the EPA then imposed strict regulations on its use.
Asbestos is no longer used for new projects, but where it already existed, workers at the Baytown refinery were at risk of exposure to the material when any asbestos-containing area was disturbed. Their health could suffer as a result. In fact, asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, which is an aggressive form of cancer in the mesothelium lining in the lungs and abdomen.
Over time, inhaled asbestos particles stick to lung tissue and lead to cancerous plaques. Symptoms can take as long as 30 to 50 years to develop to the point in which it is diagnosed – usually far beyond the time in which an effective treatment could be undertaken.
Mesothelioma is a difficult disease to treat, and as with other forms of cancer, there is no cure. If you or a loved one worked at the ExxonMobil Baytown oil refinery and are now suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, you may be legally entitled to compensation.
Kraft & Associates, P.C., is an experienced and professional law firm. We are ready to offer you a free consultation to provide you with more information and discuss your options. Call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online for a free claim review.