Bethlehem Steel in Houston is one of many jobsites where workers were exposed to asbestos. Asbestos exposure can have serious health consequences for victims, including respiratory diseases and mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that usually affects the lining of the lungs.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Bethlehem Steel Corporation was in existence for almost a century – from 1904 to 2003. It was formed to consolidate the Bethlehem Steel company in Pennsylvania with several other companies, including the Union Iron Works, which had shipbuilding facilities in San Francisco.
The corporation thrived in its early days, partly because of guns, munitions and naval vessel orders from the European powers before and during World War I. In its first four decades, the company absorbed a number of iron ore, coal and steel-producing properties throughout the nation. Bethlehem Steel Corporation continued to expand during and after World War II. It became the second largest steel producer with plants in various locations, including Houston.
The company began to diversify in the 1970s and began producing plastics and chemical products and mining nonferrous ores. The corporation ultimately failed because of low-cost foreign competition and millions lost in a lawsuit. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and dissolved, along with 20 of its subsidiaries, in 2003, as reported by Encyclopedia Britannica.
Metal workers historically have been at risk for exposure to asbestos. The job often involves intense heat and fire. At one time, the industry relied on the heat-resistive properties of asbestos for insulation and fire protection.
Walls, floors and ceilings on jobsites often contained asbestos. Metal was often coated or sprayed with asbestos to make it more heat resistant. Asbestos bricks, asbestos cement and a variety of asbestos insulation abounded on these jobsites. Asbestos lagging was used to insulate generators, boilers, furnaces and hot pipes. Even the protective clothing and equipment the workers wore contained asbestos.
Workers exposed to asbestos can develop a variety of occupational illnesses. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns that asbestos exposure through inhalation, ingestion, or skin and eye contact can cause a variety of health problems, including mesothelioma. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure usually do not manifest in time for the condition to be effectively treated.
If you or a loved one has been become ill through exposure to asbestos during employment for Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Houston, you may be entitled to compensation. Your best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
At Kraft & Associates, P.C., our seasoned lawyers have helped many injured victims recover fair compensation for the losses they have suffered. We have been serving Texas since 1971, and our friendly lawyers and staff are easy to talk to. Contact us to arrange for a free case consultation with no obligation. We can advise you as to whether you may have a case and, if so, what damages you may be entitled to claim.