Recently, a verdict was delivered in a mesothelioma case in Jackson, Mississippi regarding the use of drilling mud containing large amounts of asbestos (some were 100% asbestos). These asbestos muds were used in oil drilling extensively in the 1960′s, 1970′s, and into the 1980′s and were last used in the mid 1980′s. At the time these products were being sold, the dangers of asbestos exposure and of inhaling asbestos fibers was well documented. Unfortunately, many people were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos including more than just the mud men and mud engineers. All members of the crew: Floormen, Derrickmen, Drillers, Rig Managers, Drilling Supervisors, and mud men could be exposed by proximity or by the need to have as many hands as possible pour the mud in order to keep the well functioning.
Drilling Fluid in actuality has been called mud for a long time. It can be made up of water, mud, or gases and there are many varieties with many different components. Today asbestos is not used in drilling fluid (mud) due to its well documented health hazards. Some of the products used were Flosal Viscosifier, Magcobar, Super Visbestos, Montello, and Visquik to name a few. These were made by varying companies but included large companies like Union Carbide. To see photos of these bags of “mud” go to this drilling mud mesothelioma site. While many “mud” compounds were and are safe, during the 60′s through 80′s there were many unsafe drilling fluids with high levels of asbestos in them. Now, as in the case in Jacksonville, MS, those who worked in the oil industry that were exposed to these asbestos containing drilling fluids are at risk of developing mesothelioma.