Jobsite: Union Carbide, also known as Dow Seadrift
Address or general location:
Union Carbide Corporation
A Subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Corporation
Manufacturing Address: Highway 185, North Seadrift, TX, 77983
Corporate Headquarters: 7501 State Highway 185 North, North Seadrift, TX 77983
1954 – Union Carbide began production of chemicals in Seadrift, TX, near Port Lavaca, Texas.
Among the chemicals produced at Union Carbide/Dow Chemical were ethylene oxide, vinyl acetate monomer, and polypropylene. Ethylene oxide is a highly flammable, explosive, and toxic gas and, as referenced above, as early as 1983 increased cancer risks were noted for polypropylene workers. Vinyl acetate monomer is dangerous when exposed to heat, flame, or oxidizers and safety precautions must be followed for this as well as for the raw materials. It is considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), to be a Group 2B carcinogen. Polypropylene is used in plastics and, in the heating process, creates other chemicals – some with still unknown toxic properties.
Exposure information for chemical plants generally:
From the 1940s through the 1970s, chemical plants commonly used a wide array of asbestos containing products. Steam systems and steam driven equipment typically contained asbestos gaskets and packing and were covered in asbestos insulation. Certain kinds of asbestos fiber are also acid and chemically resistant. Thus, pipelines, vats, vessels and sinks, which needed to be acid and chemically resistant, were often made of an asbestos laden compound.