If you live in a city like Johnstown, PA, steel production is an integral aspect of your city’s culture and history. However, you may not realize the harmful effects historical steel mills had on workers’ health and well-being. Specifically, many Johnstown, PA residents fail to recognize the risk of mesothelioma from steel mills.
Steel Mills and Direct Asbestos Exposure
Steel mills needed effective insulation to prevent fires from their ovens, boilers, tanks, blast stoves, and furnaces. Many steel mills opted to use asbestos insulation throughout their buildings because asbestos was less expensive than other insulation options available.
As a result, steelworkers risked asbestos exposure each day while completing their duties in the mills. Unfortunately, workers who used the hot steel mill equipment would inhale the asbestos fibers while using the machinery.
Steel Mills and Indirect Asbestos Exposure
Even steelworkers who did not operate machinery or work directly with asbestos insulation still experienced asbestos exposure on the job. For example, steel mills often used asbestos blankets to cover steel ladles.
Steel mill workers also wore protective garments made of asbestos to prevent burns on the job. Over time, these garments could tear due to daily use, causing the fibers within to be released. As a result, the workers often inhaled asbestos from their clothing while working.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
For many decades, researchers and clinicians have thoroughly examined the effects of asbestos exposure. One of the most significant adverse effects of inhaling asbestos dust is the development of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor that develops after inhaling asbestos fibers. This tumor typically forms in the lining of the heart, abdomen, or lungs. Unfortunately, although some treatments exist, mesothelioma is incurable.
Mesothelioma can produce the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough
- Respiratory complications
- Chest pain
- Fluid around the lungs
These symptoms occur when the mesothelioma tumors spread and press against the chest wall. Mesothelioma can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because these symptoms are common in a range of other medical conditions.
After diagnosis, most mesothelioma patients have a life expectancy of around 12 months.
Halpern Law Firm Can Help
If you worked in a steel mill in the Johnstown area, you might have experienced asbestos exposure. However, because symptoms of exposure can take up to 50 years to develop, you may just now be noticing the adverse effects of inhaling asbestos dust.
Page Reviewed and Edited by
Dave Halpern, Mesothelioma Attorney
Dave Halpern is a Pennsylvania and New Jersey mesothelioma attorney with over 30 years of experience. He has investigated hundreds of cases and won numerous multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts for asbestos victims. Dave prides himself on working tirelessly to help his clients in their time of need.