Drilling mud used prior to the mid-1980s is causing oil workers to develop life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. More and more of these workers are seeking compensation for the damage caused by manufacturers and companies that exposed them to the carcinogenic fibers of asbestos.
Most recently, in May 2011, Thomas Brown Jr. was awarded a landmark $322 million for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. The historic sum is the greatest amount that has ever been awarded for a plaintiff’s asbestos verdict. Brown contracted asbestosis, an inflammatory lung disease, after working in oil fields from 1979 to the mid-1980s. Brown was a roughneck, a job requiring him to mix pure asbestos fibers with drilling mud. He was not warned of the dangerous health effects of asbestos.
Asbestos has been linked to cancer as early as the 1930s, but asbestos was used regularly in drilling through the 1980s. In drilling, mud is used inside the boring hole to clear it of debris and to cool down the drilling assembly. In the past, asbestos was added to the mud because of the heat resistance of asbestos and because it increased the viscosity of the mixture.
At the time that this was common practice, oil workers were not made aware of the health hazards of asbestos and they were not provided with protective gear. These workers were often exposed to pure asbestos fibers and are now dealing with the consequences.
If you worked in oilfields between 1960 and 1990 and suffer from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, please contact the experienced Baltimore, Maryland asbestos lawyer Matthew E. Kiely today to schedule a consultation.