Hamilton is widely known as the Steel Capital of Canada. In the 1980s, Stelco had 13,500 steelworkers laboring away, producing 60% of Canada’s steel. Today that number has been roughly halved as the industry has suffered a decline. Steel mills were, in part, responsible for the economic success of Hamilton, but were also responsible for the serious illness of many workers due to asbestos exposure.
Steel mills are largely pre-1970s structures that were built using copious amounts of asbestos in their construction. Many steelworkers were exposed to asbestos on the job because the cheap flame-retardant material was heavily used in many facets of steel production including:
- Protective clothing – Pre-1980s safety gear was often made of asbestos fiber textiles because of their highly flame-retardant properties.
- Equipment insulation – Much of the equipment used in the past had asbestos insulation to protect it from heat damage common to the industry.
- Machinery – Similarly, asbestos was used to protect machinery from the high temperatures necessary to process steel.
- Construction materials – Steel mills were constructed with asbestos to protect it in case of fire or high temperature damage.
If you are or were a steelworker and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Bergman Draper Oslund for a free consultation on your rights to a settlement.
What Other Hamilton Industries Are At Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
It’s not just the steel mills that used deadly asbestos resulting in worker exposure to carcinogens. These other busy Hamilton industries relied on asbestos in their facilities, processes and products which resulted in worker exposure to the toxic substance:
- Auto parts production – Asbestos is used as a component in many auto parts because of its excellent heat resistant properties. Unfortunately, this means that workers who worked in automotive parts manufacturing facilities were heavily exposed to asbestos.
- Chemical industry – Because asbestos is extremely fire-retardant and many chemicals manufactured are highly flammable, the mineral was used in safety gear, structures and machinery involved in chemical production.
- Navy – Asbestos was heavily used in shipbuilding because of its fire resistance and the Navy was no exception to that rule. Many sailors were exposed during their service terms and the longer your service was, the more intense the exposure to asbestos.
- Ports – Because asbestos was so heavily used in ships (military, commercial and private), workers involved in shipbuilding, repair and maintenance were often exposed to the dangerous substance. Damaged ships were particularly bad for leaching asbestos to workers.
Is Asbestos Exposure Limited to Work Sites?
This is an unfortunate no… Not only were workers in high risk industries exposed, but if their uniforms, work clothing, hair and skin retained asbestos, they brought the deadly fibers home with them. Family hugs and simple tasks such as laundering clothing could expose your loved ones to the cancer-causing substance.
In addition to second-hand exposure, there are risks from older homes and buildings that were built with asbestos products. Pre-1970s structures relied heavily on asbestos because it was very fireproof and cheap to use. In older homes, it is in drywall, insulation and lying in the open in attics and easily reachable in outlet and fixture insulated areas. Many families store belongings and out of season items in their attics. If you have asbestos insulation, the annual trek up the attic ladder to get your Christmas lights and ornaments has you breathing in toxic fibers.
What’s more, when older homes need repair work for crumbling drywall, older water heaters, ceiling mounted fixtures, roofing repairs or tile replacement, the asbestos used in these components is freed into your breathable air. If proper measures were not taken during repairs or renovations, you may have been exposed.
Also, asbestos was heavily used in pre-1970s public structures such as older buildings at McMaster University, the now-defunct and crumbling Strathmore Mill, older abandoned homes and the soon to be demolished Grace Hospital. When repair, maintenance or demolition are required in older structures, asbestos can leach out and be breathed by workers and nearby residents.
Is Mesothelioma Always Caused By Asbestos?
Almost all mesothelioma cases can be traced to asbestos exposure. What’s important to know is that asbestos exposure need not be severe or prolonged for a person to become susceptible to an asbestos-related disease. Some people work for years around asbestos and never get sick – still others can be exposed second-hand and develop lung cancer – or work for a short time around asbestos and become critically ill later in life because of that brief exposure.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should contact our office right away to see if you are entitled to compensation. Asbestos related diseases gestate for many years – usually for decades – before they become so pronounced that symptoms can be spotted and the disease diagnosed. By this stage, victims usually have just a few years (or even a few months) left to live.
This is why it’s critically important to contact us as soon as you have a mesothelioma diagnosis. A financial settlement can make your final months more comfortable and ensure you have the best medical care possible and can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be left more financially stable. It’s terrible to grieve the unnecessary death of a loved one, but adding money stress to that dynamic is even worse. Call us today to find out if you are due a claim. If you have already lost a loved one to this terrible disease, we may still be able to recover a claim for you. Contact us for a free consultation on your rights to compensation.
Our years of expertise negotiating valuable settlements for clients can help you. Bergman Draper Oslund has won over $700 million in asbestos related damages for victims and their families. That’s a track record few other law firms can claim. Our experience is your asset.
If you live in or near Hamilton – or anywhere in Ontario – and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, contact us today. We will discuss your claim in a free consultation and tell you what rights you may have to a settlement for your loss or illness. If we don’t win, there is no fee, so there’s no risk in calling to discuss your circumstance. Don’t wait – our expertise is yours for the asking.