Workers exposed to asbestos for decades recount their exposure to the ever-present toxic chemical at OxyChem’s shuttered Niagara Fall plant in an article from NPR. Despite outright bans on the carcinogen in dozens of other countries, the U.S. reportedly still allows hundreds of tons of asbestos to flow in from Brazil mainly for the benefit of two companies – OxyChem and Olin Corp. – who use the chemical for chlorine production.
According to the article, workers reveal that asbestos dust was everywhere in the plant. It reportedly hung in the air and settled inches thick on light fixtures and beams. It clung to workers’ clothing, sometimes traveling home with them, and was even sighted regularly caught in one employee’s moustache. Safety rules were arbitrarily enforced, according to workers cited in the article. OxyChem officials claim the accounts from the Niagara Falls plant are “inaccurate.” The plant reportedly closed in 2021 for unrelated reasons.