When you live in a state like Pennsylvania, chances are good that you know at least one person who is involved in the steel industry. It's big business in the Keystone State, and thousands of people are employed at the various mills like the one owned by Allegheny Ludlum.
Allegheny Ludlum has roots that go back to a New Jersey based producer of steel chains that were designed to be attached to cannon balls. The company was founded in 1854, and over the years it merged with various other steel manufacturers to become the Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation by 1938. It wasn't long before the steel producer was well established and winning large contracts such as providing goods for the Ford Automotive company, New York Chrysler building and the Empire State building.
Throughout the years, many people were employed at this Natrona Heights based facility. All of the time that they spent on these premises, they were subjected to a hidden threat. The workers dealt with large equipment that operated at very hot temperatures, and needed large sheets of insulation to keep them running smoothly. One of the key ingredients inside of this insulation was a mineral known as asbestos. This mineral is a strong, durable and fire resistant material that is found in large natural deposits. These and similar advantageous traits caused asbestos to be seen as one of the most beneficial natural resources ever discovered in the United States. Of course that was long before it was known to be toxic.
Asbestos is carcinogenic, and exposure to the mineral can be harmful or even deadly. When people are around it, they can breathe in microscopic fibers that break off and become airborne. These asbestos fibers are a serious threat to human health, because once they are inhaled, they will stick to the respiratory system and cling there. Although the process can take as long as a decade or more, the poison from these fibers can cause a great deal of damage. Among the most common results of ingesting the toxic mineral are asbestosis and mesothelioma. These ailments are very painful, difficult to treat, and often incurable. In some cases they are fatal. Millions of Americans have suffered with conditions such as mesothelioma cancer after being exposed to items that were made out of asbestos.
Did you or someone you know work at the Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation? If so, you may be at risk for developing asbestos cancer. Although the items that contained this hazardous mineral have been professionally cleaned up and disposed of, anyone who spent time at this site while they were still in place may have ingested poisonous fibers and could still be at risk today.