Rome Strip Steel was established in 1926 in Rome, New York. The company produces a variety of strip and alloy steel based products that are shipped throughout the world.
Since the mill opened, plant workers have utilized a variety of equipment that helped produce their goods. The machines that do this job run at very high temperatures, and must be kept cool with insulating materials. For most of the time Rome Steel was operating, the insulation they used contained asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral. Manufacturers used asbestos to produce insulation and hundreds of other products because the mineral is strong, can be molded into most any size or shape, inexpensive to mine and resistant to heat and fire. The mineral had so many benefits that it was often referred to as a miracle material.
Businesses all over the United States purchased products that contained asbestos because they were effective and long lasting. Tragically, many executives were so fond of these goods that they kept using them even after they had been warned about an extreme hazard - the mineral that was the primary ingredient is toxic. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and when people spend time around it they can easily inhale small, fibrous particles that have become airborne. These particles will then cling to the human respiratory system and cause internal damage. People who ingest or inhale asbestos tend to develop breathing disorders and serious ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. All across the country, people who worked at steel mills and other sites that utilized products that were made out of the hazardous mineral began to get sick. Many of them eventually lost their lives due to mesothelioma cancer.
By the 1970's the general public was starting to be made aware about the dangers of asbestos. Workers who had been affected by items they spent time around while on the job began filing personal injury claims against their employers. Government agencies like OSHA and the EPA eventually stepped in and created strict regulations about the use of asbestos and forced companies to have all hazardous materials removed by certified professionals.
Today Rome Strip Steel continues to operate out of their New York facility. The company has found great success and employs a large number of people to work in an asbestos free environment. Unfortunately, asbestos cancer often take more than a decade to develop, so anyone who worked at this facility before the new regulations were in place may still be at risk.