Detroit Edison Employees: Asbestos Exposure Risk

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Detroit Edison (now known as DTE Energy) is a utility service that provides electricity and natural gas to customers in Michigan. The company has been in operation since 1886.

The company grew rapidly as the local population increased and industries sprouted up. Detroit Edison and related power companies have since built many facilities, including multiple power plants and the Fermi 2 nuclear plant in 1970.

As a result, tens of thousands of workers have been employed by Detroit Edison over the years, including HVAC and power plant workers. Many of them developed health problems after being exposed to asbestos at work, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

The Michigan-based law firm Serling & Abramson, P.C. has over 50 years of experience handling asbestos-related cases. We have helped many victims of workplace negligence. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, we offer a free consultation — the first step on the road to compensation and justice.

How Workers Came Into Contact With Asbestos

There were many changes in how power was produced during the 20th century. Coal-fired plants gave way to steam plants, then hydroelectric plants which led to today’s nuclear power plants.

The one constant for much of this time? Machinery like generators, turbines, and boilers that contained asbestos in their parts and insulation. When these machines were installed, used, inspected, repaired, or damaged, asbestos fibers often became airborne and were inhaled by nearby workers.

The result: Many workers became ill and received medical diagnoses of mesothelioma and lung cancer, which led to serious health problems and even premature death.

Local Sites In The Danger Zone

There were many Detroit Edison power plants that had asbestos-containing equipment that posed a health risk to workers. These include:

  • Del Ray Powerhouse
  • Beacon Street Powerhouse
  • Trenton Channel Powerhouse
  • St. Clair Powerhouse
  • Marysville Powerhouse
  • Seven Sisters (Connors Creek)
  • River Rouge Powerhouse
  • Belle River Powerhouse
  • Pennsalt Powerhouse
  • Wyandotte North
  • Wyandotte South

Signs That You May Have Been Exposed

The most severe illness associated with asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. It’s a cancer that forms on the protective lining covering the lungs, abdomen, and organs in the thoracic cavity.

Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop: usually between 20 and 50 years after the first exposure. Common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Buildup of fluid in the lungs or abdomen
  • Pleural effusion
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Chest pain, especially after exertion
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful coughing
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest or abdomen

Note: Mesothelioma can sometimes be misdiagnosed. Discussing your work history with your doctor can help lead them to a proper diagnosis.

Various types of lung cancer are also caused by exposure to asbestos. Just like with mesothelioma, when inhaled, asbestos fibers lodge in the lung tissue. Over time, this can contribute to the development of lung cancer.

Common lung cancer symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A cough that won’t go away (or gets worse)
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections that won’t go away or keep coming back (such as bronchitis or pneumonia)
  • Wheezing

Note: Victims of asbestos-related lung cancer often suffer from non-cancerous asbestosis, a non-malignant scarring of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. This can happen before their lung cancer develops — sometimes 20 years or more after the initial exposure.

Detroit Edison Utility Workers Who Could Be At Risk

If you worked in any of these jobs at a Detroit Edison facility, you may have been exposed to asbestos:

  • Boiler Operators & Boilermakers
  • Bricklayers
  • Carpenters
  • Crane Operators
  • Drywallers
  • Electricians
  • Insulators
  • Iron Workers
  • Laborers
  • Mechanics
  • Millwrights
  • Pipe Coverers
  • Pipefitters
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Welders

Serling & Abramson, P.C. has represented many workers in these fields and worked with several unions and trades here in Michigan. If you’ve worked in one of these fields and been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, contact us.

Other Factors We Know To Consider

There are extra questions raised by asbestos exposure that some law firms overlook — but not the experts at Serling & Abramson, P.C.

Did you know that utility workers who are exposed to asbestos often unknowingly expose their spouses to this dangerous carcinogen too? Wives of power company employees can develop mesothelioma or lung cancer just from doing the laundry of a family member who came home with asbestos dust on their clothes.

Did you know you can file a “second disease case” if you get sick down the road? Sometimes workers who have already filed a lawsuit for developing an asbestos-related illness develop a related condition years later. For example, if you have asbestosis (scar tissue in the lungs) as a result of your utility work and then develop mesothelioma or lung cancer years later, we’ll help you recover the damages you’re entitled to.

Don’t think that your husband’s lawsuit — or your “first disease” lawsuit — covers everything. Let our decades of experience find the best solution to get you compensated for your suffering and convince power companies to do the right thing for workers in the future.

Contact us for a free review of your case today.