Two huge smoke stacks loom over the town of Springdale, Pennsylvania, just a short distance from Pittsburgh. They’ve been there since 1970, when the coal-fired Cheswick Power Station was built and became part of the landscape of the town. Situated on 82-acres, the plant has long employed plenty of locals but it’s been a bone of contention for equally as long.
The plant, operated by Reliant Energy, produces enough energy to power about 400,000 area homes. But the plant has long emitted fly ash and other waste particles as well, which land on the properties within a few miles of those ominous smoke stacks.
Many fear that these emissions contain cancer-causing particles and some have even sued Reliant for its negligence, fearing for their health and that of their children. In particular, the emissions can irritate the respiratory system and induce asthma complications. This is especially serious for those who already have compromised respiratory systems and other medical problems.
Organizations like the Sierra Club maintain that there’s no doubt the air quality in Springdale has been affected by the presence of Cheswick Power Station, despite the installation of new scrubbers several years ago – technology that reduces emissions to what is deemed an acceptable level. However, residents don’t find the levels to be very acceptable.
Toxic emissions aren’t the only concerns at this coal-fired generating station. Other lawsuits surrounding Cheswick Power Station include those that allege dangerous asbestos exposure. When Cheswick Power Station was constructed in the late 1960s, asbestos use was still acceptable and power plants were some of the biggest users of materials that contained the toxic mineral.
Asbestos-containing materials found in a power plant may have included insulation on pipes and electrical wires, gaskets, floor and ceiling tiles, asbestos cement, and more. Asbestos could even be found in some of the protective clothing used by workers at this and other power plants.
As a result, those who were employed at Cheswick during the first decade or so of its operations should be concerned as to whether or not they were exposed to the toxin and should remain on the lookout for symptoms of asbestos diseases, including:
• Persistent cough
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Chronic fatigue
• Weight loss
While these symptoms can be a sign of something less serious, they can also indicate mesothelioma cancer, a disease that has been diagnosed in many power plant workers throughout the country. Mesothelioma happens when sharp asbestos fibers become embedded in the area of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, causing tumors to form.
Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, they cannot be expelled. Not everyone who inhales asbestos develops cancer, but the risk is certainly present.
But there’s no need to suffer in silence. Those who’ve been sickened by employment at Cheswick Generation Station or any other coal-powered station in the Pittsburgh region need to take time to investigate their legal options. It is possible that victims can obtain compensation for their suffering but choosing the right attorney is essential.
That means selecting a lawyer who is familiar with the corporations in the region and who knows the particulars of power plant asbestos exposure. For more information on filing a successful lawsuit, schedule an appointment with a Pittsburgh mesothelioma attorney.