Mesothelioma in Power Plant Workers

Quick Summary

Power plants provide energy through high temperatures and extreme conditions. Asbestos-containing products were once used in power plants as they were fireproof and inexpensive to make. As a result, power plant workers today are now in danger of mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

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Power Plant Workers and Asbestos Exposure

Before the early 1980s, power plant workers were at high risk of developing malignant mesothelioma since these job sites greatly relied on asbestos, a cancer-causing substance.

Power plant worker

Exposure to airborne asbestos among power industry workers was all too common prior to the early 1980s, when the risks finally became public knowledge.

Asbestos was common in electrical plants that distributed power. Lignite mining plants, outlying workshops, and transformer stations also relied on asbestos. Power plant workers who handled asbestos products could go on to develop mesothelioma later in life.

If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma after working in a power plant, you may qualify for medical care and financial aid. You might also qualify for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if you served your country.

Learn more about all the benefits available to those with mesothelioma in our Free Veterans Packet.

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Asbestos-Containing Products in Power Plants

A wide assortment of products in power plants contained asbestos. Most products relied on asbestos to limit wear and tear from high temperatures within the plants.

Asbestos-based products used in power plants included:

  • Asbestos blankets: used for fire prevention and burn emergencies
  • Asbestos insulation: used in most products for heat resistance
  • Boilers: used to generate heat
  • Cement: used for walls, pipes, and repairs
  • Compounds: used largely in repairs throughout power plants
  • Firebrick: a fireproofing material used to create power plant walls
  • Gaskets: a necessary part used in many types of equipment
  • Mastic: used for sealing and repairs in power plants
  • Paneling: used for insulation and fireproofing
  • Pipe coverings: used to insulate pipes and control temperature
  • Plaster: used for fireproofing and noise control
  • Raw asbestos: asbestos dust could be released when friable asbestos products were crushed or pulverized
  • Turbines: asbestos was used to prevent turbines from overheating

If any of the above products were disturbed or damaged, they could release asbestos fibers into the air.

Nearby power plant workers could inhale or swallow the fibers and develop mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis and lung cancer 10-50 years later.

Which Power Plant Workers Are at Risk of Asbestos Exposure?

Power plantAny power plant worker that served before the early 1980s (when the risks of asbestos became public knowledge) could have been in danger.

However, power plant workers at the highest risk of asbestos exposure worked directly with or around electrical appliances, boilers, or pipes.

All of these products contained a lot of asbestos, and simple maintenance could release fibers into the air nearby.

Did you know?

In a German research study of 8,600 power plant workers, 50% had worked with asbestos-containing products.

Power plant workers may have also been exposed when:

  • Fitting piping, pumps, and gaskets with asbestos insulation (for fireproofing)
  • Refurbishing the power plant (by cutting into products that contained asbestos and replacing them)
  • Maintaining equipment (as many pieces of equipment and machinery used asbestos)
  • Spraying boilers with asbestos insulation (which released asbestos fibers into the air)

Even those who didn't work with asbestos directly were put at risk through secondhand exposure. This type of exposure happened because airborne asbestos fibers could linger in the air due to poor ventilation in power plants.

Did you or a loved one develop mesothelioma after working in a power plant? Contact us now to get help finding medical care and compensation.

Compensation for Power Plant Workers With Mesothelioma

It's possible to get compensation and justice if you or a loved one developed mesothelioma from working in a power plant. This compensation can help pay for medical bills related to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.

Ways to get mesothelioma compensation include:

  • Asbestos trust fund claims: The U.S. courts demanded that bankrupt asbestos manufacturers set up trusts to pay those who were harmed. Over $30 billion is available right now in asbestos trusts.
  • Mesothelioma lawsuits: A legal claim allows you to demand compensation from companies that made and sold asbestos-containing products to power plants without warning of the risks. The average mesothelioma lawsuit awards $1 million with some getting much more.
  • VA benefits: U.S. military veterans with mesothelioma may qualify for many benefits, including nearly $4,000 a month in compensation and medical care from top doctors who work with the military.

Help for Power Plant Workers With Mesothelioma

If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma after working in a power plant, we can help you.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center assists both military service members and civilians in accessing compensation, health care, and justice. We'll go the distance to secure all of the benefits you need to fight this cancer.

Learn more about the ways we can help you: Get our Free Veterans Packet now.

FAQs About Mesothelioma in Power Plant Workers

Do all asbestos power plant workers get mesothelioma?

No. There are many possible asbestos-related diseases that power plant workers can develop besides mesothelioma.

Other common asbestos-related diseases include lung cancer and asbestosis (which isn't cancer but can still be deadly, as the lung's function gets weaker over time).

Finally, some power plant workers won't get sick despite being exposed to asbestos.

What if I have been exposed to asbestos at a power plant?

If you've been exposed to asbestos during your time as a power plant worker, make sure to check for symptoms of mesothelioma, like chest pain or a cough, as you get older.

Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma typically appear 10-50 years after exposure. The symptoms are usually vague and mild at first, but it's still crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you're diagnosed early on — before the cancer spreads — you'll have a better chance at living longer.

Who is exposed to asbestos the most in power plants?

Power plant workers that had to handle materials such as gaskets, insulation, and piping are among those with the most exposure to asbestos.

This is because all of these products greatly relied on asbestos, and working with or around them could release fibers into the air.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Felten, M., et al (n.d.). Retrospective exposure assessment to airborne asbestos among power industry workers. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from https://occup-med.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1745-6673-5-15
  2. Sennott, W. (2022, July 26). Power plant demolition crew takes caution with asbestos — and nesting ospreys. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from https://newbedfordlight.org/power-plant-demolition-crew-takes-caution-with-asbestos-and-nesting-ospreys/