The steel mill industry is responsible for providing steel based products for many uses in the United States including the military, construction, and automotive industries. Steel mill workers often include many skilled workers such as casters, millwrights, furnace operators and welders. Asbestos-containing materials were often used in steel mills putting steel mill workers at increased risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma cancer.
During the 20th century, asbestos was mined heavily in the United States and used in thousands of commercial and industrial products. Asbestos gained its popularity because it is durable and resistant to heat, flame and corrosion in addition to being readily available and inexpensive.
Because of the large equipment used within the steel mill, asbestos insulation was used to keep machinery running properly and safeguard against the extreme heat they produced. In addition to heavy use as machinery insulation, asbestos fillers were regularly used in insulation boards on steel molds and in machine components. Steel mill workers risked inhaling asbestos dust found in the air around the plant that was created as equipment was in use and during the repair of machinery and replacement of asbestos insulation. Once asbestos dust is made airborne, the tiny asbestos fibers linger in the air where they can easily be inhaled or ingested. As these fibers enter the body, they can become lodged in organ tissue causing a buildup of scar tissue that may lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Steel mill workers worked without the benefit of protective clothing, as they were unaware that their health was at risk. However, many of them wore heat resistant, protective clothing around the heated equipment found throughout the mill. Unfortunately this clothing intended to protect them was often made of fabrics woven with asbestos fibers. When worn, frayed or cut this protective clothing also exposed workers in the steel industry to airborne asbestos.
Millions of people in the United States have been exposed to asbestos. The effects of exposure in the work place are only now being seen as mesothelioma generally takes 10 to 60 years to develop from the time of asbestos exposure.
Trust funds to pay compensations to those injured by asbestos have been established by many companies.
If you have mesothelioma, or other asbestos-related injury, and wish to consult an attorney about your legal rights to compensation, CLICK HERE for a free consultation.