Moundsville, West Virginia has always been a highly industrial area. For much of the 20th century, especially in the middle decades, plants seemingly sprang up everywhere and locals found employment and the American Dream in a place that was suitable for bringing up children and making a life that would be perhaps hard, but content.
When the Ormet Corporation aluminum smelter moved in on the other side of the Ohio River in the late 1950s, they constructed Moundsville’s Kammer coal-fired power plant to provide the electricity they needed to keep the business running night and day.
Kammer quickly became a familiar sight to those who lived in the area; a plant known for its immense smokestacks, one of which towered some 900 feet over the town, visible from seemingly miles away.
Owned by American Electric Power, Kammer – and the nearby Mitchell Plant – employed many locals, but like all coal-fired plants, it presented a concern about emissions, especially as it aged and its technology became archaic.
Finally, in 2015, the plant was shut down. Environmental regulations were not being met, it was said.
Prior to that, in 2009, the Kammer plant – along with the neighboring Mitchell plant – had been ranked number 28 on a list of the 100 most-polluting coal plants in the United States. It seems the locals – and those who had worked at the Kammer plant over the last 50 years – had a right to be concerned.
Employees at American Electric Power’s coal-fired Kammer Generating Plant were worried about other toxins as well as those released from that ominous smokestack. Many were exposed to asbestos while working at the plant and some have gotten sick because of it.
Others fear that their cancer diagnosis is just around the corner as they watch friends pass due to negligent exposure to asbestos materials.
After years – or even decades – of working with many kinds of items that contained asbestos – including insulation, gaskets, valves, acoustic tiles, protective gloves and other such clothing – some workers began to notice that they were having serious respiratory issues.
Many started out believing they were suffering from the common cold or perhaps the flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia, but because the cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain didn’t go away, they quickly surmised that it was something more serious.
Power plant workers who were employed before the asbestos regulations of the late 1970s took affect are high up on the list of those tradesmen most likely to develop mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
This is because they regularly inhaled tiny, sharp asbestos fibers while on the job. As if their cancer isn’t difficult enough to handle, the fact that their employers often knew that asbestos was dangerous yet continued its use makes this diagnosis especially maddening.
Kammer Plant workers who are sick with asbestos-related cancer, however, should know that they have the opportunity to hold liable those responsible for their disease. A visit with a local West Virginia mesothelioma attorney will provide victims with all the information they need to determine if they have a viable case against their former employer and/or those who manufactured the asbestos-containing products used there.
It’s an appointment that could help sufferers navigate the difficult road that is mesothelioma and to plan for the well-being of their family members when they’re gone.