Asbestos In Utah
Throughout the 20th century1900s, Utah residents were exposed to a fibrous mineral called asbestos. The mineral was used in building products like pipes, insulation, flooring tile, and a variety of other applications. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began regulating the substance in the 1970s after health risks began to affect workers who came into contact with it.
Exposure to the carcinogen puts people at risk for inhaling or ingesting airborne fibers. Over time, healthy cells in the body may react to fibers that became lodged in the lungs, thoracic cavity, or abdomen, and mutate into cancerous cells. In some cases, exposure may lead to the development of fatal diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer.
Both natural deposits of the mineral and occupational exposure among industrial job sites were significant sources of exposure in Utah. From its most natural form at mining sites to its manufactured state, the toxin exposed residents inside older homes, public buildings, and workplaces.
Occupational and Environmental Exposure
Mining in Utah was once a significant industry in the state. An abundance of natural mineral deposits throughout the Wasatch Mountains, Avintaquin Canyon, and Baer Canyon put miners at risk for airborne asbestos exposure. Removing the toxin from the earth requires techniques that disturb friable, or easily crumbled fibers, releasing them into the air causing massive risks for contracting mesothelioma.
The Tremolite Asbestos Mine near Sulphurdale, Utah was part of the Antelope Spring Mining District. At the site, workers extracted large amounts of tremolite, which contained trace amounts of actinolite asbestos. Other contaminated mines in the state included the King David Mine, Highland Boy Minnes, and the Pack Rat Tremolite Prospect. Once manufactured, the asbestos-containing tremolite was shipped to multiple workplaces throughout the state, including power plants, oil refineries, and factories.
Workers at industrial job sites risked exposure by coming into contact with contaminated machinery parts or building materials. Most industrial factories, manufacturers, or plants used the toxin in fireproofing materials like insulation. Other applications included boilers, pipes, flooring, or ceilings. In older buildings, repairing or replacing old equipment or building materials could lead to airborne exposure among workers. Some common Utah work sites for asbestos exposure include:
- Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company
- Bloomington Power Plant
- Chevron Chemical
- Empire Mining Company
- Kennecott Utah Copper
- Lake Side Power Plant
- Little Bell Consolidated Mining Company
- Lone Peak Partners Power
- National Lead & Chemical.
- Nebo Power Station
- Salt Lake City Refinery
- Sharon Steel Corporation
- Stauffer Chemical
- U.S. Steel Corporation
- Utah Copper Company
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Asbestos Disposal Sites
It’s illegal to throw away products that contain asbestos without proper packaging. Some landfills in Utah are permitted to accept the carcinogen. Working at or visiting these landfills can lead to airborne exposure. Utah landfills that accept the toxin include:
|Clean Harbors Grassy Mountain, LLC||Clive, UT|
|Contract Environmental Services, Inc.||Aneth, UT|
|ECDC Environmental LC||East Carbon, UT|
|Energy Solutions, LLC||Salt Lake City, UT|
|Iron County Landfill||Cedar City, UT|
|Johns Valley Class I Landfill||Garfield, UT|
|Logan City Landfill||Logan, UT|
|Mountainview Landfill||Salt Lake City, UT|
|North Utah County Transfer Station||Lindon, UT|
|Salt Lake Valley Landfill||Salt Lake City, UT|
|Waste Control Management||Salt Lake City, UT|
Asbestos Shipments to Utah
W.R. Grace, a conglomerate, was founded by William Russell Grace in 1854. Prior to the 1900s, the company produced fertilizer and machinery, but later got involved with shipping, banking, oil, healthcare, and mining after the turn of the century. Mining operations included silver, clay, phosphate, tin, and ore.
From the 1920s until 1990, the company shipped several million tons of ore across the United States from its mines in Libby, Montana. Shipments of the ore contained trace amounts of the carcinogen. Salt Lake City and Richfield received over 55,000 tons of the toxic Libby ore in nearly 1,000 shipments from 1948 to 1993.
The ore was processed at Vermiculite Intermountain and Intermountain Products, located next to Utah Power and Light in Salt Lake City, which eventually purchased the former Vermiculite Intermountain facility. Although the company ceased operations in 1986, the EPA found contaminated soil and gravel at the site. Abatement efforts eliminated the contamination in 2004.
Legal Help for Utah Residents
Utah residents who developed an asbestos-related condition, as a result, negligent exposure may be eligible for compensation. According to the state’s statute of limitations, residents have three years to file a personal injury claim after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.
If a loved one has passed away from mesothelioma, they may file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years following their death. For help starting the process, fill out a free case evaluation form or learn more about mesothelioma lawsuits with access to our free mesothelioma guide.