Cincinnati Toxic tort lawyer reviewing Asbestos Exposure in Ohio’s Steel Industry
According to a series of medical studies, workers in the metals and steel industry are at an increased risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Workers that regularly inhale asbestos fibers may eventually develop severe scarring of the lungs, and fatal diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma. Even family members of steel factory workers are at risk of potential second-hand exposure. Asbestos fibers may be brought home on the clothes or skin of an employee.
Health issues related to asbestos exposure often develop many years after exposure, so former steel plant workers should monitor their health for signs of an asbestos-related lung disease. About 3,000 U.S. citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma this year.
As a result of widespread occupational exposure to toxic substances like asbestos, many former workers in Ohio are filing lawsuits to help compensate for their debilitating, and deadly illnesses like lung cancer.
Asbestos claims are highly complex litigation and require the attention of an experienced toxic exposure attorney. Joe Lyon is a highly rated toxic tort attorney reviewing asbestos claims nationwide.
The Dangers of Asbestos
Breathing asbestos fibers into the lungs for a long period of weeks, months or years can severely damage tissue surrounding the lungs. Because of the amount of asbestos material in Ohio steel plants, workers are at an increased risk of developing major health issues. Many former workers at Ohio steel plants have been diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma cancer, and other asbestos-related disorders.
Medical researchers have published a number of studies related to increased cases of asbestosis among steel workers. One study found an increased prevalence of harmful fibers embedded in the lungs of maintenance and production workers.
However, it is important to note that the damage done to an employee may not always be obvious, and health issues may not present themselves for many years after employment ended. In fact, inhaled asbestos fibers have been found in the lungs up to five decades after exposure, causing major health issues and cancers such as mesothelioma.
How Are Workers Exposed?
For a typical steel mill worker, direct handling of machinery, equipment and material in steel plants expose them to large amounts the toxic materials on a daily basis. It is estimated that asbestos was added to more than 3,000 construction products, many used in the steel industry. Employees who worked in high-temperature settings wore asbestos coats and leggings during certain production processes. Clothing such as gloves, aprons, coveralls and facemasks contained asbestos materials.
From the 1940s through the end of the 1970s, steel mills also commonly used asbestos as an insulation material. Steel mills in Ohio were constructed with toxic materials in refractory bricks, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and liner boards. Asbestos blankets, used for covering ladles, were often strewn about carelessly on the plant floors.
Asbestos was used to insulate equipment, which included the following:
- Hot blast stoves
- Rolling mills
- Molding boards
- Steam Pipes
Different Types of Occupational Exposure
The following tasks are associated with possible high asbestos exposure:
- Installing framework in factory construction projects
- Inspecting factory equipment
- Masonry work
- Assembling and repairing boilers and plate work
- Operating plant machines and cranes
- Tending to stoves or furnaces
- Applying metal lath
- Laying heating and ventilating pipes
- Forging and heat-treating steel products and tools
- Insulating various types of pipe systems
- Installing acoustic tiles
- Smelting and pouring materials at high temperatures
- Plastering and sanding surface finishes
- Working in an enclosed space with asbestos products (shingles and tiles, etc.)
Who is Most at Risk?
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ohio is among the states with the highest incidence of mesothelioma. For the last 70 years, countless Ohio factory workers have been exposed to asbestos. Steel mill workers are listed as a “high-risk work group.” There are several positions in the metal works industry that expose workers to an asbestos hazard. These include the following types of positions:
- Pipefitter & Plumber
- Mill Roller
- Motor inspector
- Metal Lather
- Shot Blaster
- Maintenance Crew
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Many symptoms of lung disease are often delayed for many years. By the time signs of damage appear, mesothelioma has likely already reached an advanced stage. Frequently victims of mesothelioma are initially misdiagnosed with pneumonia. Symptoms of mesothelioma can vary, and depend on several factors. Symptoms can include the following:
- Persistent cough
- Pain in the chest and rib area
- Mysterious lumps of tissue on the chest and abdomen
- Trouble breathing
- Stomach pains
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Weight loss
Medical professionals recommended that former workers of Ohio steel mills contact cancer specialists about possible asbestos exposure.
Known Asbestos Sites in Ohio:
- Reynolds Steel
- Marion Steel
- LTV Republic Steel
- McDonald steel
- AK Steel / Armco
- Philip Carey
- J&L Steel
- Ormet / Olin Matheson / Consolidated Aluminum
- Dayton Malleable
- Empire Detroit Steel
- New Boston Coke Plant
- Dayton Walther Foundry
- Copperweld Steel
- Packard Delphi
- Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel
- Youngstown Sheet & Tube
- United States Steel (Ohio Works)
Asbestos exposure remains a danger in older buildings, especially if they were built before the 1980s. Therefore, current workers at Ohio metal and steel plants could still be exposed to toxic material.
Ohio Mesothelioma Trust Fund
Steel plants are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for their employees. When this responsibility is not met, corporations should compensate the victims.
Therefore, many metalworkers affected by asbestos-related diseases have filed lawsuits against the responsible workplaces. The lawsuits state that asbestos manufacturers knew about the health dangers of their products though failed to properly warn unknowing employees.
Throughout the country, steel plants have been involved in asbestos litigation for exposing steel workers to toxic materials. As a result, more than 60 trusts with assets of over $30 billion have been established to pay victims of these terrible illnesses.
Asbestos Exposure Settlements
- Recently, a former worker at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works plant who developed mesothelioma was awarded a $250 million verdict against U.S. Steel. He worked at the plant from 1950 to 1981. In 2001, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, attributed to working at the steel plant.
- LTV Steel faced so many lawsuits that it was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1986 and again at the turn of the millennium. Thousands of workers claimed they got sick because of asbestos exposure at LTV’s steel-making facilities.
- In 2010, Oglebay Norton Co., which supplied asbestos-containing products to steel mills, was sued for $2 million by the family of a former worker who passed away from mesothelioma.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati asbestos lawyer and Ohio mesothelioma attorney who has successfully represented individuals throughout the United States. If you have questions about asbestos litigation, contact The Lyon Firm at 800.513.2403 for a no-obligation and confidential consultation.