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Asbestos Drilling Mud: When the Mud Is Deadly

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New Orleans, LAAsbestos lawsuits often involve construction workers and employees who were exposed to products that were packed with asbestos, but some asbestos lawsuits involve drilling mud. Although drilling mud itself does not sound particularly harmful, according to lawsuits filed by people who worked with the substance, asbestos was used as an additive to drilling mud, putting people who work with the mud, such as mud engineers, at risk of asbestos-related diseases.

One such lawsuit was filed in Louisiana state court, but removed to federal court in 2013. That lawsuit (Bridges et al v. Phillips 66 Co. et al., case number 3:13-cv-00477) was filed by 10 plaintiffs who allege they were exposed to asbestos, including handling asbestos and breathing it in, while working for a variety of companies including Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., and Shell Oil Co.

The plaintiffs further allege they developed illnesses related to asbestos exposure because of their work for those companies. They claim the companies knowingly used products that contained asbestos and, despite having information about the risks associated with using asbestos, continued to use those products.

Asbestos exposure has been a highly contentious area of litigation. Over the course of a career, employees could be exposed to asbestos from a variety of employers and product makers. Furthermore, symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses may not arise for decades after the exposure.

Among the illnesses linked to asbestos exposure are asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Drilling mud is used to keep the drill bit cool and to flush the well hole. It is usually mixed on-site, with asbestos mixed directly into the drilling mud because of its heat-resistant quality. Many workers, however, may not have realized the additive they were mixing into the drilling mud was toxic. They may have mixed the asbestos without wearing proper safety gear or taking proper measures.

Lawsuits have been filed against many companies, alleging workers were exposed to asbestos during their time as drilling mud engineers, resulting in them developing serious health problems. Meanwhile, lawsuits are also being filed against other defendants not linked to asbestos drilling mud, alleging workers were exposed to asbestos while on job sites including construction sites and manufacturing plants.

In one recent lawsuit, a $1 million award was upheld for a man who alleged he developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure while working on Ford vehicles (other defendants were also named in the lawsuit but settled out of court).

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READER COMMENTS

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I worked with commercial water and methane gas well in Alabama for several years,I often worked near mud pits. I now have Asbestosis and COPD.

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