Dangerous and cancer-causing properties of products and chemicals in the oil refining and petrochemical industry: Part V--Asbestos-caused cancers and exposure of workers in the oil refining industry

Toxicol Ind Health. 1991 Jan-Mar;7(1-2):53-71. doi: 10.1177/074823379100700103.


In the oil refining and petrochemical industries exposure to cancer-causing asbestos particles, especially during equipment repair and maintenance, is very high. Up to 90% of workers in the oil refining industry had direct and/or indirect contact with asbestos, and more than half of this contact occurred without the use of any kind of precaution, thus these workers are in high risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma, both fatal diseases. The hazards include: inadequate health and safety training for both company personnel and workers, failure to inform about the dangers and diseases (cancers) resulting from exposure to asbestos; excessive use of large numbers of untrained and uninformed contract workers; lack of use of protective equipment; and archaeological approaches and responses to repairing asbestos breaks and replacement of asbestos in oil refining facilities. For a better understanding of practices and policies in the oil refining industry, refer to Rachel Scott's Muscle and Blood, in particular the chapter "Oil" (E.P. Dutton, New York, 1974), as well as to an editorial which appeared in the Oil and Gas Journal, April, 1968.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Asbestos / history
  • Chemical Industry*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / history
  • Petroleum*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Petroleum
  • Asbestos