California Steel Industries (CSI) officially began operating in 1984 in Fontana, California. They developed 5 separate product lines and became the only manufacturer on the West Coast to do so. CSI produces a wide variety of steel based goods that are distributed throughout the United States.
The facility that is now owned by CSI once belonged to Kaiser Steel. When CSI purchased the location, they inherited a problem that there were likely unaware of - the presence of a dangerous material called asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used as a base for insulation, fire retardant clothing and other items that were commonly used at steel mills and other industrial settings. When it was first discovered in America, people did not realize the mineral was poisonous, and most were not made aware of that fact until the late 1970's. By then it was in commonly found in work sites, schools and homes all across the country.
People who gained employment at CSI spent time around products that contained asbestos, and were therefore subjected to inhaling microscopic bits of the mineral. Inhaling any amount of asbestos can be very dangerous, as it will remain permanently lodged in the respiratory system and cause a great deal of damage. After people breathe it in, they often develop chronic respiratory disorders that make normal breathing difficult and painful. This condition usually worsens and turns into asbestosis or mesothelioma, both of which are serious illnesses that can be fatal.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the conditions that are caused by exposure to asbestos, and they are very difficult to treat. This is especially true since most people do not realize they have been afflicted by the toxic mineral until many years later. It can take decades for the symptoms of these illnesses to develop, so even former employees who haven't worked at the CSI facility for many years could still be at risk. If you are among the people who spent time laboring at this Fontana based steel mill, contact your healthcare provider for an appointment to get a checkup as soon as possible.