When in operation, The Elk Street Mobil Oil refinery in Buffalo, New York, was one of only seven Mobil Oil refineries in the nation. The facility, which was taken out of operation in 1981, sprawled over five city blocks and had the capability to refine 43,000 barrels of oil per day. Throughout its operation, the Elk Street refinery employed dozens of workers, including electricians, millwrights, yardmen, maintenance personnel, journeymen and pump operators. Asbestos was used extensively throughout the facility and, as a result, many former workers developed mesothelioma, a cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.
Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos in the early 1970s, asbestos could be found in materials, such as pipe covering, gaskets, thermal insulation and packing material. Miles of pipelines were covered with asbestos insulation. These same pipe lines that ran through the facilities storage tanks, outdoor furnaces and maintenance shops were also comprised of asbestos-containing gaskets and packing material. Asbestos gaskets were primarily used because of their durability and ability to withstand acid both in the facilities pipelines and tanks. Asbestos-containing packing material was also utilized in the pumps to ensure they would not leak the high temperature liquids and acids that they contained.
There were periods of time when journeymen were hired to come to the Elk Street facility in order to perform routine maintenance work. During this time, worn asbestos insulation that covered pipes and boilers was torn-down, and workers assisted with dismantling and replacing the asbestos insulation. This process was extremely messy and created enormous dust clouds. Many workers were not aware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust and carried on their work without masks or protective gear.
Our attorneys have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. If you or a loved one once worked at the Mobil Oil Refinery in Buffalo, New York, and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, please contact us for a free case evaluation.