Orchard owners in the same area of Oregon sued Harvey Aluminum for excessive amounts of fluorine and other toxins that were being released by the plant. Martin Marietta purchased Harvey Aluminum in 1972 and changed the name to Martin Marietta Aluminum. The company was a major producer of aluminum products until 1984.
The EPA in Wasco County, Ore., began investigating the Harvey Aluminum plant in The Dalles in 1984. The agency focused its work on the hazards of a 15-acre landfill that contained large amounts of construction debris, including asbestos. The site also contained tons of waste material such as arsenic and cyanide.
USS-Posco Industries is a joint venture between POSCO of the Republic of Korea and the U.S. Steel Corporation. USS-POSCO Industries produces flat-rolled steel sheets of several varieties including cold-rolled, galvanized and tin plate. The plant is located in Pittsburg, Calif., where it employs about 1,000 workers.
Reynolds developed a number of other interesting products, including both an aluminum bus and an aluminum submarine. By the 1990s, the company boasted 100 operations in 20 countries, employing about 31,000 workers. The company merged with Alcoa in 2000 and was sold again in 2008 to industrialist Graeme Hart. It now operates under the name Reynolds Packaging Group. Since that time, several Reynolds plants ceased operations.
Reynolds Aluminum was the second-largest aluminum and packaging producer in the U.S. and the third-largest in the world when it was acquired by Alcoa in June 2000. The company is best known as the maker of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil. It was started in 1919 in Louisville, Ky., as the U.S. Foil Company. It served as a supplier of foil wrapping forcigarettesand candy and quickly branched out into other endeavors, Headquarters were moved to Richmond, Va., in 1938 and remained there for the life of the company.
As of 2009, 426 asbestos lawsuits were pending against AK Steel Holding Corporation. Most of these involved employees or others who were exposed at the company's sites. As many of them are class action suits, the number of plaintiffs involved most likely numbers in the thousands. As is typical of such lawsuits, many of these allege that AK Steel executives knew about the dangers of asbestos but did not relay this information to employees or do anything to protect them from related hazards.
Based in West Chester, Ohio, AK Steel began as Armco in 1899 and quickly grew to be one of the world leaders in the steel industry. It earned a number of notable patents, including a patent for crash barriers (called Armcos) that are used at auto raceways around the world. AK Steel employs 6,500 people.
In 1984, the EPA declared the Martin Marietta Aluminum plant in The Dalles, Ore., a Superfund siteand placed it on its priorities list. Much of the waste from toxic materials used in aluminum production ended up in a landfill located on the property. According to the EPA, the debris included asbestos insulation, coke, pitch and cathode waste. The EPA concluded that "thirteen source areas and a portion of the shallow ground-water bearing zone had contaminant concentrations that exceeded federal or state applicable relevant and appropriate requirements or acceptable lifetime non-cancer or cancer risk levels."
Martin-Marietta Aluminum was formed when the Martin Company acquired Harvey Aluminum in 1968, though the name of the company was not changed until 1971. Martin-Marietta Aluminum operated an aluminum reduction facility at the John Jay Dam on the Columbia River in The Dalles, Ore., from the time of takeover until the plant closed in 1984.
Alcoa is the largest producer of fabricated and primary aluminum in the world with sales of $23.7 billion in 2012. The company is also the world's largest miner and refiner of alumina and bauxite. Originally known as the Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa maintains a presence in 31 countries with approximately 60,000 employees.
During some of the company's busiest times – namely from World War II until the 1970s – Alcoa made abundant use of toxic asbestos inside their plants. For decades, exposure was almost unavoidable if you were an employee directly involved in production. In 2008 in Blount County, Tenn., the adult daughter of a former Alcoa employee died of mesothelioma.
The company was involved in a number of endeavors that made working for the organization dangerous. Throughout the years, there were plenty of accidents inside their steel mills and at their shipyards, some fatal. In addition, Bethlehem Steel used many toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials in the making of their products and in the building of ships. These substances, which included asbestos, had an adverse effect on those who worked with or near them at the company's steel and shipyard plants.
Pennsylvania's Bethlehem Steel was once the second-largest steel producer in the country and boasted roots that went back to the mid-1800s, when the company got its start as the Saucona Iron Company. As it grew and changed, it would later become the Bethlehem Rolling Mill and Iron Company, Bethlehem Iron Company, and finally in 1899, Bethlehem Steel.
According to court records, by 2003 U.S. Steel had nearly 15,000 active asbestos claims outstanding against the company and had already paid about $15 million in settlements. That same year, however, USX faced a major loss in the case of a 70-year-old retired worker from its Gary, Ind., plant. Roby Whittington, a mesothelioma victim who had worked for the company for more than 30 years, was awarded a sum of $250 million by the courts, the largest to a single plaintiff in a U.S. asbestos case. The company was stunned.
USX Corporation, more commonly known as U.S. Steel or the United States Steel Corporation, is the largest domestically-owned integrated steel producer in the United States. Based in Pittsburgh, the company produces a wide variety of sheet and tubular steel products for use in a number of different industries including construction, automotive, industrial machinery, oil and gas, appliance and container.
Weirton was eventually named in a large number of asbestos lawsuits. As a matter of fact, it wasn't unusual for large groups of workers to join together to file class action suits against the company as well. In addition, some suits were filed by family members because mesothelioma had already claimed the lives of their loved ones and they were seeking help with medical bills and other financial problems caused by loss of income.
When information was finally released that verified the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma, Weirton employees were astounded. Those who had already beendiagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, including cancer, started filing lawsuits against Weirton Steel and other companies that used or manufactured asbestos materials.
Many Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel employers sought legal representation and sued the company for compensation, citing exorbitant medical bills for the treatment of their mesothelioma and loss of income due to the inability to work. In addition, laborers, pipe fitters, electricians, insulators, and other employees have gathered together to file class action suits against the company, placing the blame for their illnesses on their employer.
Unfortunately for these families, the steel mills belonging to Wheeling-Pittsburgh were making employees sick. Because asbestos was used in steel mills as a common insulation material from the 1940s through the end of the 1970s, many workers were exposed to this toxic material while performing their daily tasks.Founded in 1920, Wheeling Steel was respected for its quality products.
As in all steel mills that operated prior to about 1980, LTV's steel mills made abundant use of asbestos as a form of insulation for machines and employees. Part of the reason that LTV filed for bankruptcy in 1986 and again at the turn of the millennium was because the company was facing a never-ending pile of lawsuits filed by those who got sick due to exposure to asbestos and other toxins while working at one of LTV's many steel-making facilities. Once bankruptcy was declared, new lawsuits were forbidden in accordance with automatic stay provisions that are part of the bankruptcy code. Hence, the company was able to avoid further litigation.