Resources for Patients and their Families

AAA Smolka Co.

AAA Smolka Co. is a locally based, family-owned plumbing, bath and kitchen supply store in New York City. The business has been in continuous operation for over one hundred years, being founded in 1904 by Edward Smolka. The company was run by Mortimer Smolka until his death in 1973, after which it came under the management of John Bonsignore, who retained the Smolka name. Today, Smolka Kitchen and Bath specializes in plumbing and continues to operate a showroom and retail outlet in upscale bathroom and kitchen fixtures in midtown Manhattan as well as a warehouse in the Bronx.

Plumbing fixtures and supplies, such as were sold by AAA Smolka Co. prior to the 1980s, are known to have contained asbestos. Concrete pipes, adhesives and joint compounds all contained various form of this deadly material.

There are no records of Smolka being involved in asbestos litigation at present, but if it is determined that someone's asbestos-related illness was caused by a one of their products, they may be called in to testify against the manufacturer of one of their products.

Up until the 1980s, it was typical for many industrial facilities to be built with asbestos because it provided high resistance to transferring heat and electricity. It is ironic that safety was typically one of the primary reasons for utilizing asbestos because the end result was actually that employees were put at risk of serious illness due to inhalation of asbestos. The reason large numbers of employees have died from illnesses such as miner's lung and lung cancer is that when humans inhale or ingest asbestos strands, the mineral embeds itself into the lungs; once there, the sharp, microscopic spikes damage tissues. Furthermore, workplace contact with asbestos can cause the extremely aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma, which develops as a tumor of the cells that line the chest cavity (pleural mesothelioma) or the cardiac cavity (pericardial mesothelioma).

Today, regulators understand the dangers associated with being exposed to asbestos, and responsible employers ensure the well-being of those who work with or near this potentially lethal mineral. However, in the past, laborers without proper safety gear often toiled in areas thick with asbestos dust. In addition, employees took asbestos home on their clothes or in their hair when decontamination procedures were not offered at the workplace; the consequence of this was that the carcinogen also put at risk wives and husbands of those who worked with asbestos.

Those who were employed at this site during their career, as well as family members of such workers, should learn more about these health conditions and tell their family doctors about their history of asbestos exposure, because the symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses can be mistaken for those of other conditions.



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