Power-generating facilities are one of the leading workplaces where fire and heat are potential hazards. Because of this, large number of the machinery, tools, protective gear and even the buildings themselves contain asbestos to guard against these hazards. While asbestos was once considered a miracle fiber for its strength, durability, flexibility and lightweight nature – all important uses in power plants – it turns out that asbestos isn't quite the marvel we once thought. Rather, it is a deadly carcinogen.
Once inhaled, asbestos fibers burrow deep into the lungs, the mesothelium and other membranes and soft tissues in the body. From there, they can become malignant and replicate, forming tumors and quickly spreading. The resulting cancer, which usually targets the lungs but can also affect the stomach and heart, is called mesothelioma.
Power-plant workers are among the industrial employees who are at the greatest risk for developing mesothelioma and the other asbestos-related diseases because of the substance's prevalence in their workplaces. Electricians, pipefitters, boilermakers, repairmen and maintenance personnel all have a higher rate of mesothelioma than the general public does.
Generators and turbines were just two of the types of machines that were most likely lined with asbestos in power-generating facilities. Boilers, pipes, seal pumps, gaskets and valves also contained asbestos. Even the floors, ceilings and walls of the power plants may contain asbestos material.
Below you will find a list of power plants where workers may have been exposed to asbestos: