Asbestos exposure in Washington paper mills
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Asbestos exposure in Washington paper mills

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2022 | Firm News

The Paper Mill located in Camas, Washington began operations in the late 19th Century. Located just north of the Washington-Oregon border along the Columbia River, the Mill produced the first wood pulp manufactured in the northwest. Crown Zellerbach Corporation owned and operated the Mill beginning 1928. Throughout the 20th Century, Crown Zellerbach introduced many different mechanical and operating systems as the Mill became one of the largest producers of pulp and paper products in the country.

These mechanical systems, including pulp production and paper machines, incorporated asbestos-containing equipment to allow the Mill to operate continuously under extreme temperatures and high pressure. Asbestos-containing insulation was used all throughout the Mill to insulate high-powered industrial equipment, such as digesters, pumps, turbines, paper machines, boilers, storage tanks, dryers and washers. These high-powered industrial equipment also specified the use of asbestos-containing products, such as gaskets and packing. In addition to heavy equipment, the Mill contained thousands of feet of asbestos-containing insulated pipes that were used to transport various hot fluids, vapor, pulp slurry and other materials vital to the paper making process. Because the Mill operated continuously year-round, Mill employees, including millwrights and pipefitters, frequently worked on and maintained heavy-mechanical equipment and asbestos-containing pipes throughout the Mill—in the process disturbing asbestos that contaminated the air within the Mill’s various buildings. Accordingly, in addition to millwrights and pipefitters, operators, cooks, helpers, electricians and other Mill personnel were frequently exposed to asbestos-containing dust and fibers originally contained within the Mill’s heavy equipment and pipes.

Crown Zellerbach continued to own and operate the Mill until Crown Zellerbach sold its mills to the James River Corp. in 1986. The Mill underwent various changes and modernizations beginning in the 1980s, and was sold to Georgia-Pacific Corporation in 2000. The Mill continues its operations to this day.

If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, that worked at the Camas Paper Mill, please contact our office. Our office has successfully represented former Mill employees, and we are very familiar with the manufacturers and suppliers of the various high-powered industrial equipment that operated the Mill.  Our office is also familiar with outside contractors that installed asbestos-containing products and equipment and disturbed asbestos-containing insulated pipes while working around Mill employees.