Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) is a utility company that supplies natural gas and electricity to consumers throughout a 2,700 square mile area surrounding Rochester, NY. Throughout the later half of the twentieth century, RG&E has depended largely on the use of coal burning boilers and nuclear turbines in order to produce its power. The boilers and turbines at RG&E’s Russell and Beebe coal stations, located in Rochester, New York, and its Ginna Nuclear Station, located in Ontario, New York, were once covered in asbestos-containing thermal block insulation and were a significant source of asbestos exposure. Laborers employed at these stations regularly came into contact with asbestos-containing block insulation, cement, pipe covering, gaskets, packing material and pumps. In recent years, former laborers of Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) who once worked at the Russell, Beebe, and Ginna stations have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Until the mid-1970s, asbestos-containing materials were utilized as efficient insulation for intensely heated equipment, such as pipes, boilers and turbines and other equipment throughout RG &E powerhouses and substations. Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos insulation and other materials placed employees at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Once a year, RG &E’s stations went into a maintenance period called “shut down” when workers were directed to dismantle asbestos insulation from power turbines, pipes and boilers. During annual maintenance shut downs, worn asbestos insulation was removed by sawing insulation off of pipes and flat surfaces, filling the work atmospheres with asbestos dust and fibers. This process created enormous dust clouds.
After the worn insulation was removed, reapplication of asbestos insulation was necessary so that the pipes, boilers and turbines could effectively contain steam and other high temperature materials. During insulation reapplication, in order to prepare cement, dry asbestos cement mix was continuously dumped into water creating large clouds of asbestos dust. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust and performed their work without masks or protective gear.
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products at RG &E power stations. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at a RG &E power station and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights