Barbours Cut Container Terminal opened on the Galveston Bay of the Texas Gulf Coast in 1977. Workers in ports and shipyards like Barbours Cut worked around asbestos and risked being exposed and diagnosed with mesothelioma and other diseases.
The History of Barbours Cut Terminal
The Barbours Cut Terminal opened in 1977 and is owned by Port Houston. It is located on the Barbours Cut Ship Channel and between the towns of Morgan’s Point and La Porte, Texas.
Barbours Cut was built at a cost of $53 million ($237 million today) as an alternative to the Turning Basin terminal. Barbours Cut had the advantage of being closer to the Gulf of Mexico.
Barbours remains open, and according to its official website, the terminal is undergoing a modernization program to “increase cargo handling efficiency and capacity.” The company has also taken strides to be more environmentally friendly.
Was Asbestos an Issue at Barbours Cut?
Barbours Cut began to operate at the tail end of peak asbestos use in shipyards. Early workers in the terminal likely faced asbestos exposure risks.
Barbours Cut Terminal didn’t get sued by any workers who developed illnesses, at least as court records show. However, the Houston Port Authority did.
The Houston Port Authority owns not only Barbours but also several other shipyards, all of which, at one point in time, contained excessive amounts of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
Further, the company used asbestos and other toxins freely before the mid-1980s, before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on its use.
Asbestos exposure causes devastating illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer. Most workers had no idea that they were being exposed to a carcinogen at work, and many didn’t even know the dangers of asbestos since employers failed to warn them or provide safety gear.
“Federal health officials were blocked in their attempts to ban asbestos more than 25 years ago, and since then, this notorious carcinogen has killed tens of thousands of Americans,” Heather White of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund said.
“Asbestos is still on the market and still dangerous at even the smallest exposures.”
Asbestos is made up of microscopic, odorless fibers that cannot be detected by the human eye. You don’t realize when you’ve inhaled the tiny fibers. The body has a difficult time expelling all of the fibers, and over time, they attach to organ linings and create damage.
According to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, more than 7.6 million pounds of asbestos have been shipped to Houston and nearby New Orleans ports.
Other Environmental Issues at Barbours Cut Container Terminal
Some of the environmental practices and impacts at Barbours Cut have been controversial, especially for local residents. In response, Port Houston has created land management and restoration programs. It also offers an environmental stewardship program through its environmental affairs department.
In spite of these efforts, the National Resources Defense Council gave the Port of Houston low grades for air quality, water quality, land use, and community relations. It reports that the Port has contributed to local air and water pollution and continues to push residents out of their homes to make expansions.
If you have been exposed to asbestos or other toxins because of the Port of Houston or Barbours Cut Terminal, contact an experienced attorney. They can review your case for free and explain your legal options.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Mary Ellen Ellis
Mary Ellen Ellis has been the head writer for Mesothelioma.net since 2016. With hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos articles to her credit, she is one of the most experienced writers on these topics. Her degrees and background in science and education help her explain complicated medical topics for a wider audience. Mary Ellen takes pride in providing her readers with the critical information they need following a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.