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Asbestos Exposure
at Power Plants

For years, power plants across the Pacific Northwest have provided jobs for skilled professionals and laborers. However, many power plants exposed workers to dangerous levels of asbestos in insulation, machinery, and equipment. If you or a loved one was a victim of asbestos exposure at power plants in Oregon or Washington, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free consultation.

Asbestos exposure at a refinery

The Pacific Northwest has dozens of power plants that generate electricity across multiple states. Over the past several decades, these power plants were among the largest employers in the area. For instance, the Centralia Power Plant and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation provided full-time jobs for generations of skilled workers and technicians. 

Unfortunately, these power plants also served as major sources for dangerous asbestos exposure. Before the 1980s, power plants used components containing asbestos in their insulation, machinery, and construction because of the mineral’s excellent heat and electricity insulation capacities. However, we now know that long-term exposure to asbestos causes significant and potentially deadly health effects in humans. Many Washington and Oregon residents who worked in a power plant were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos and have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases.

If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure at a power plant, you deserve just compensation. The dedicated legal team at Bergman Oslund Udo Little specializes in asbestos exposure cases in Washington and Oregon. Find out how our experienced attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Power Plants in the Pacific Northwest

There are numerous power-generating plants in Washington and Oregon. Washington alone is currently home to 133 power plants. While hydroelectric plants are the most common type of power plant found in the Pacific Northwest, numerous other plants use coal, nuclear power, geothermal energy, and natural gas. These facilities include major nuclear plants such as the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and the Centralia Power Plant.

Exposure to asbestos at job sites was common for a variety of skilled workers. An average power plant will employ electricians, steamfitters, plumbers, mechanics, and other laborers.

How Was Asbestos Used in Power Plants?

Given the dangerous heat created by electricity generation, many power plants used asbestos insulation in the walls and ceilings of their buildings. In addition, because of the material’s durability,  asbestos was commonly mixed into a power plant’s ceiling tiles, floor panels, and even the cement used in the foundation. 

Asbestos was also used in power plants’ pipes, gears, boilers, and turbines to reduce the risk of accidental fires. Many power plants also issued their workers protective clothing and equipment made with asbestos. Asbestos-containing gear included fireproof aprons, masks, gloves, and eye protection. 

Thus, given the toxic material’s widespread use at these facilities for most of the 20th century, asbestos exposure was inevitable for workers.

For decades, the manufacturers of these asbestos-containing products knew of the mineral’s dangers but continued to use it. Thus, they are legally responsible for the harm caused to workers by asbestos exposure.

Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure for Power Plant Workers

Asbestos exposure commonly affects the lungs and pulmonary system. Power plant workers are exposed to asbestos by breathing in microscopic asbestos particles from the air. While asbestos has been used for centuries, it was only in recent decades that the severe health hazards associated with asbestos exposure have come to light.

If you suffered asbestos exposure at power plants in Oregon and Washington, you may be at risk for serious health conditions.


Mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting the mesothelium, the thin tissue that lines organs such as the lungs. Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling tiny asbestos particles in the air. When these particles accumulate around your lungs, they can cause cancer to develop in this tissue. 

Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose because its main symptoms are similar to those of  other diseases. It is also particularly difficult to treat since it typically resists common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. For these reasons, the long-term prognosis for mesothelioma patients is poor.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma.


Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inflammation and scarring in the lung tissue brought about by asbestos exposure. Common symptoms of asbestosis are shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. While these symptoms alone can be debilitating, asbestosis can also lead to more serious diseases such as lung cancer and pulmonary artery disease.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is another risk of long-term asbestos exposure at power plants. Inhaling asbestos particles can damage the DNA in the cells of your lungs. Over time, this damage causes malignant tumors to form. 

Like mesothelioma, lung cancer is particularly deadly, with a poor long-term prognosis. Though treatments have improved in recent years, a lung cancer diagnosis can still cause pain, disability, and extensive medical costs.

Power Plant Workers and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is the most serious health effect of asbestos exposure at power plants. A mesothelioma diagnosis points to long-term asbestos exposure in your past. In some cases, mesothelioma does not develop until 20 years after your first exposure to asbestos. 

Early mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing, wheezing, pain or swelling in your abdomen, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. Early-stage mesothelioma has a better prognosis than advanced stages, so early detection is critical. Unfortunately, diagnosis can often be difficult since the typical early symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions. Doctors who suspect mesothelioma in a patient will usually order imaging and a lung tissue biopsy for a definitive diagnosis. 

Common treatments for mesothelioma are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. These treatments have improved in recent years, but most patients’ long-term prognosis is still poor.

Legal Options for Power Plant Workers Exposed to Asbestos

If you are a current or former power plant worker diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you don’t need to suffer alone. Taking legal action against those responsible is extremely important to get the compensation you and your family deserve. But you need a legal team with the knowledge, experience, and track record to navigate an asbestos exposure case. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little’s asbestos lawyers have fought for justice for their clients in the Pacific Northwest since 1995. We specialize in asbestos cases. Companies responsible for asbestos exposure in their products often have the money and resources to aggressively contest claims. You need an experienced attorney who can stand up to powerful interests and fight for you. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little’s attorneys can evaluate your legal options, find the best path forward, and help you navigate the legal system. The experienced Bergman Oslund Udo Little team has a long track record of securing ample settlements for victims of asbestos exposure at power plants. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little’s attorneys secured a $1.3 million settlement for a former Hanford Nuclear Reservation plant engineer diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 61. 

The health effects of asbestos exposure can devastate you and your family. But you don’t have to fight alone. If you are the victim of asbestos exposure at power plants, an asbestos lawyer in Oregon or Washington can help you seek justice. 

Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little today for a free mesothelioma case review. We know about asbestos—asbestos law is all we do.

Contact The Firm

Representing asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the Northwest.

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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