Chemical Lawsuits: Employees of Ohio Chemical Production Plants at Risk of Mesothelioma and Other Serious Illnesses


There are many health hazards associated with working in an oil refinery or chemical production facility. The most common dangers include inhaling toxic fumes and asbestos fibers that cause serious illness and even death.

Until the end of the 1970s, asbestos was considered the most effective commercial and industrial insulator available because it is highly resistant to heat and fire. As a result, most oil and chemical plant workers in Ohio were regularly exposed to toxic asbestos materials that have been proven to cause deadly cancers like mesothelioma.

In some cases, plants took no precautions to protect workers from the dangers of airborne asbestos or inform the workers of these hazards. This negligence resulted in generations of chemical plant workers developing asbestos-related diseases and other lung conditions.

As of 2006, there were over 140 operational US refineries processing oil, and hundreds of chemical plants throughout the country, including many in Ohio. Many of these companies process crude oil into a variety of products, including fuel, petroleum, lubricating oils, wax, nylon, plastics, tar and asphalt.


Ohio Asbestos Exposure

Nearly any worker in a chemical production plant or oil refinery in Ohio could be at risk of developing serious health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Unfortunately, there are trades more at risk than others for developing asbestos-related disease through workplace exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibers. Occupations in particular risk include engineers, maintenance workers, electricians, pump system operators, boilermakers, pipefitters, millwrights, steel workers and welders.

A medical study published in 1994 stated, “exposure to asbestos in oil refineries causes pleural mesothelioma.” The researchers concluded that mesothelioma should be considered an “occupational disease among oil refinery workers” because of the widespread use of asbestos in the industry.
In 2005, another report stated that 96-100% of the mesothelioma cases of workers were directly linked to asbestos exposure.

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Asbestos in Oil Refinery & Chemical Production Plants

Oil refineries and chemical plants often house large amounts of piping that connect manufacturing and industrial buildings. These pipes, as well other equipment such as ovens, tanks, boilers and pumps, contained asbestos.
Asbestos also lined work areas and cafeteria tables and was even found in the clothing chemical workers wore to protect themselves from burns and fire. Some employees may have even been issued asbestos-lined face masks.

Asbestos is especially toxic when it is disturbed through cutting, grinding, or naturally deteriorates over time. Anyone working in the area is likely to inhale the fibers, which can get lodged in tissue surrounding the lungs and cause long-term pulmonary damage.


Ohio Oil Companies Asbestos Risk

  • Marathon Refinery—Canton, Ohio
  • Sunoco Oil—Toledo, Ohio
  • Shell Oil—Belpre, Ohio
  • BP Amoco—Toledo, Ohio
  • Pearl Oil Company—Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Gulf Oil Company—Cleves, Ohio
  • Clark Refining—Lima, Ohio
  • Marathon Ashland Petroleum—Colesville, Ohio
  • Sunoco—Haverhill, Ohio
  • Mobil Chemical–Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Gulf Oil Refinery—Hooven, Ohio
  • Ashland Oil—North Bend, Ohio
  • Ashland Oil—Belpre, Ohio
  • Occidental Petroleum Corp—Kenton, Ohio

Ohio Chemical Asbestos Risk

  • Borden Chemical—Columbus, Ohio
  • Monsanto Chemical Company—Addyson, Ohio
  • Occidental Chemical Company—Kenton, Ohio
  • Oxychem—Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Stauffer Chemical—Moraine, Ohio
  • DuPont Chemical—North Bend, Ohio
  • DuPont Chemical—Granville, Ohio
  • Calhio Chemicals—Perry, Ohio
  • Stauffer Chemical—Perry, Ohio
  • Akzo Chemical—Gallipolis, Ohio
  • Millenium Chemical—Geneva, Ohio
  • Mobay Chemical—Hannibal, Ohio
  • Olin Mathieson Chemical—Hannibal, Ohio
  • Aristech Chemical—Haverhill, Ohio
  • Dow Chemical—Haverhill, Ohio
  • DuPont Chemical—Haverhill, Ohio
  • DuPont Company—Huron, Ohio

Dow Chemical Lawsuits

Dow Chemical exposed many former workers to asbestos-containing products as well as asbestos lining on some equipment used in its facilities. Employees who worked with this equipment were often issued protective asbestos gear for high-temperature hazards.

In 2011, the family of a former worker was awarded $9 million from Dow and another company. Lawyers claimed the worker had been exposed to asbestos while employed at Dow Chemical, and years later, developed cancer. The jury concluded this chemical lawsuit by acknowledging that Dow was aware of the cancer risks associated with asbestos at the time.

In 2013, another asbestos-related lawsuit was filed in Louisiana, and the victim was awarded almost $6 million.


DuPont Chemical Lawsuits

Of all chemical companies, DuPont may have the poorest employee safety record, and has been hit hard by the courts and former employees who have suffered illnesses on the job. According to reports from the EPA, DuPont was responsible for more toxic releases than any other manufacturing company in the 1980s.

DuPont has a history of exposing workers to cancer-causing agents, like asbestos, which has opened them up to numerous chemical lawsuits. In the 1980s, a New Jersey jury found that DuPont deliberately concealed medical records that showed six maintenance workers developed asbestos-related diseases, associated with their work.  The company has paid out millions to victims of unsafe workplaces.

Thousands of DuPont workers were exposed to asbestos on the job, which was used to insulate equipment and machinery in their plants. Asbestos was also found in protective clothing distributed to workers. Former workers in Ohio who developed mesothelioma after working at DuPont may have claims against the company.

In 2015, Chemours, a DuPont spinoff said it faced 2,400 asbestos-related lawsuits from contractors, and 3,500 Ohio and West Virginia lawsuits alleging injury or disease.


Stauffer Chemical Lawsuits

Stauffer used asbestos in various applications in its factories, mostly as a form of insulation for machinery and equipment, endangering many employees who worked in the buildings.  Asbestos was found in gaskets, tanks, reactors, heat exchangers, ovens, machine wheels and brakes, and in protective clothing that employees wore.


Borden Chemical Lawsuits

Borden Chemical Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, endangered its employees for years with potentially hazardous work areas filled with asbestos. Workers at Borden Chemical plants were likely exposed to toxic asbestos fibers, regularly used to insulate machinery to prevent fires in its facilities. Asbestos was also found in protective garments used by plant workers.


Symptoms of Asbestos-Related Disease

Because mesothelioma and asbestosis can lay dormant for decades, symptoms may not present themselves until many years after exposure. When they do appear, symptoms may include the following:

  • Pain in the chest
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue.
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing

Cincinnati Mesothelioma Attorney

America’s Oil and Chemical companies have a responsibility to provide employees with safe working environments. When they fail to protect workers, they should compensate employees and families for the damage they have caused. Workers in Ohio’s chemical and oil plants who have developed health issues may have claims against their former or current employers. Please do not hesitate to seek medical and legal assistance.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio mesothelioma and toxic exposure lawyer. Contact him at 800.513.2403 for a free consultation.