Although its dangers have been known for nearly a century, the tragic effects of asbestos continue to arise in new areas. In May, a Mississippi man was awarded more than $300 million in damages after developing asbestosis due to inhaling asbestos dust while mixing drilling mud for an oil rig from 1979 through the mid-1980s. Hundreds of similar suits are currently pending related to illnesses stemming from the use of asbestos-based additives used in drilling mud from the 1960s through 1989. Due to its bonding properties and heat-resistant nature, asbestos was a popular additive to drilling mud used on offshore and land-based oil rigs for nearly three decades. An increasing number of workers who handled and mixed drilling mud are now saying they were neither aware of the dangers of the additives nor given appropriate breathing protection to use while mixing the asbestos additives. Although the health problems linked to asbestos contamination are severe and often deadly, they can also take decades to emerge. Thus an increasing number of oil rig workers who were exposed to asbestos-based drilling mud additives are now beginning to suffer the effects of lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Drilling mud is a mixture of dirt and chemical additives used in oil drilling primarily to force debris from the bore hole and keep the drill bit cool and clean. Until the Environmental Protection Agency attempted to phase out and ban asbestos in 1989, the most common drilling mud additives were made of either pure asbestos or asbestos combined with other compounds. If you or a family member worked with drilling mud during the 1960s through the 1980s and suffer from asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, please contact the Mobile, Alabama, asbestos attorneys at Long & Long, for a free case evaluation.