Although he now lives in the UK, Al was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He first worked for IMCO Services, a drill and mud company owned wholly by Halliburton, which used products that contain asbestos (see the list below). "In those days we used asbestos mud a lot as an additive to the drilling mud, and I specifically remember using IMCO Best, which was the IMCO trade name for their asbestos product," he says. Early in 1978, Al left IMCO to work for the smaller Louisiana Mud company, but he was still exposed to asbestos.
"I don't remember the dosage of asbestos to mud, but I do remember that it came in big bags," Al adds. "We would cut sacks of this stuff open in a room that was filled with a white haze of dust. We weren't given any safety equipment, neither were we told of any health issues.
"On the one hand, my company should have provided data sheets on the product but they wanted to sell it, it was just the way things were. There was no safety information on any products, it just wasn't done in those days, nor was it questioned. I was the only representative for my company on the oil rig; two other major companies were out there and they didn't provide information either—OSHA didn't exist back then. And when OSHA finally got connected with the Health and Safety echelon onshore, it still didn't have a presence offshore."
Al won't forget the white cloud of particles when those bags were ripped open. "Here I am 35 years later, I'm turning 65 in December and so far I have no major health issues but I get short of breath," he says. Although Al hasn't yet had an X-ray or any tests for asbestos-related illness, he has been concerned about his health for many years. "This shortness of breath issue hasn't become bad enough to see a doctor—I just put it down to being in bad shape overall and my age—but it's common knowledge that asbestos causes serious lung problems. If I have contracted some kind of lung disease and there is compensation I would like to be part of it.
"If I get registered now and I develop an asbestos disease later on, if I can speak with an attorney and get the ball rolling, at least there is a line of communication set up so my wife will know what to do and she will have someone to contact."
Attorneys advise anyone who was exposed to asbestos to seek legal help sooner than later, even though it can take years for an asbestos-related disease—particularly mesothelioma—to manifest.
READ MORE ASBESTOS DRILLING MUD LEGAL NEWS
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Best
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Diaseal M
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Flosal
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Shurlift
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Super Best
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Super Visbestos
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Univis
• IMCO Drilling Mud – Visbestos
(The IMCO Shurlift and IMCO Best products were relabeled Flosal and Union Carbide asbestos products. IMCO was a reseller of such products and re-labeled them under the IMCO label. IMCO is also a defendant that has been afforded bankruptcy protection under the 2003 asbestos bankruptcy.)