Asbestos Exposure – U.S. Steel (Duquesne Works)

The Duquesne Works blast furnace site in Allegheny County has been confirmed to have exposed workers to asbestos. Asbestos is an effective insulator used heavily in steel production throughout the state.

At D’Amico Law Offices, our Pennsylvania asbestos exposure attorneys understand the devastation asbestos-related injuries have brought to former steel plant workers and their families. If you have developed mesothelioma or suffered other asbestos-related injuries, turn to our compassionate and experienced legal team to recover the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact us at (412) 652-9300.

Worker exposed to high heat and liquid metals at a steel mill

What Should I Know About Asbestos Exposure at the Duquesne Works Job Site?

Occupational asbestos exposure has been known to cause significant lung damage decades after contact. Asbestos was used in everything from welding equipment to protective wear for employees. 

Some of the most common asbestos products in steel mills include:

  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Gaskets
  • Ovens
  • Pipe insulation
  • Fireproof clothing
  • Steam pipes
  • Steel molds

With the collapse of the steel industry and the influx of asbestos-related injuries and illnesses, asbestos products fell out of favor. Asbestos still is not banned in the U.S. If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos at the Duquesne Works job site, contact D’Amico Law Offices.

What Damages Can I Recover in an Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit?

Damages in an asbestos exposure lawsuit can vary considerably. Asbestos-related injuries and illnesses take decades to develop. When they surface, the impact on individuals and their families is unique. 

Most personal injury awards are compensatory and divided between economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic losses generally consist of any tangible losses, including:

  • Medical expenses: Medical losses usually involve surgeries, various treatments, therapy, equipment, and more
  • Lost income: Lost income generally refers to any wages lost while you are unable to work
  • Loss of future earnings: Loss of future earnings involves estimating the income you would have earned if uninjured 

Economic damages are based on expenses and bills, making them much easier to estimate than non-economic damages. 

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are challenging to evaluate properly. Non-economic are intangible and consist of concepts like physical and emotional pain. 

Intangible losses may include:

  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional stress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

It is difficult to put a number on the suffering asbestos exposure inflicts on individuals and families. Speaking with a compassionate Pennsylvania asbestos exposure job site attorney can help you understand your right to compensation. 

What Are the Injuries and Illnesses Associated with Asbestos Exposure? 

Asbestos exposure leads to devastating injuries and illnesses. The most common injuries involve damage to the lungs. 

Using asbestos in products like insulation and protective wear can release fibers and asbestos dust into the air over time. Inhaling airborne asbestos fibers wreaks havoc on the lungs. 

  • Lung cancer: Airborne asbestos fibers are responsible for 4% of all cases of lung cancer. Lung cancer is different than mesothelioma. Mesothelioma tends to spread rapidly to other organs.
  • Pleural disease: Asbestos exposure can cause fluid around the lungs, leading to deadly buildup. Pleural disease is non-cancerous.
  • Asbestosis: Asbestos can also cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs. Over a long period of time, asbestosis can result in decreased lung function, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.
  • Mesothelioma: Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of Mesothelioma. The cancer aggressively attacks the lining of the lung, abdomen, and heart.

As a carcinogen, it is the number one cause of mesothelioma. 

What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma? 

Mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Fluid around the lungs
  • A persistent cough
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever, chills, or night sweats
  • Muscular weakness
  • Significant and unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

There is no cure for mesothelioma. If you believe you are exhibiting any of the above symptoms and have been exposed to asbestos at the U.S. Steel Duquesne Works job site, seek immediate medical attention. 

Who is Most At-Risk for Occupational Asbestos Exposure? 

The U.S. steel industry utilized asbestos in a large array of products and equipment. Many steelworkers suffered prolonged exposure to asbestos throughout their careers. 

The most at-risk occupations to asbestos exposure include:

  • Insulators
  • Machinists
  • Millwrights
  • Pipefitters
  • Welders
  • Foremen
  • Conductors
  • Industrial workers
  • Casters
  • Boilermakers
  • Furnace operators

If you were employed in any of the above occupations, it is important to take your possible exposure seriously and seek help.

Steel factory workers working near heat and fumes

What Do I Do If I Was Exposed to Asbestos on a Duquesne Works Job Site?

If you were exposed to asbestos on a Duquesne Works job site, seek medical attention immediately. While asbestos exposure may take 30 to 40 years to present with symptoms, your primary care physician will be able to examine you for signs of asbestos-related diseases, including:

  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest and shoulder pain

At your visit, your physician will listen to your lungs and conduct an array of diagnostic tests. It is important to know that regular testing may be needed in cases of asbestos job site exposure.

Common diagnostic tests include the following:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Lung function test
  • Spirometry
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Low-dose CT scan
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage

Be sure to tell your doctor you were exposed to asbestos at a Duquesne Works job site. There is no cure for asbestosis after it develops. However, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation can ease symptoms.   

When Did Duquesne Works Close?

Duquesne Works stopped production in 1984. At its height, the Duquesne Works site operated 6 blast furnaces. Blast furnaces are key in steel production. The Duquesne Works site contained the largest steel furnace in the region, affectionately named “Dorothy Six.”

Dorothy Six was one of the most famous blast furnaces in the country. The Duquesne Works Steel Plant began production in 1886. In 1890, Andrew Carnegie bought the plant, selling it to U.S. Steel in 1901. The Dorothy Six blast tower was built in 1916 and customarily named for the wife of a former U.S. Steel president. 

Why Did Duquesne Works Close?

The Duquesne Works Steel Blast Furnace Site closed its doors in 1984 with the collapse of the steel industry. The region of Allegheny lost half of its manufacturing base in the 1980s. In addition, the real property tax and the population decreased by 75%. 

U.S. Steel shut down the blast furnace site when Duquesne Works became insufficiently profitable. While pivoting to demolish the site and build an industrial park, the community rallied together to prevent the plans. 

A coalition of churchgoers, academics, unions, and other community activists banded together to have the county take over the industrial facility. 

Where Is Duquesne Works Located?

Duquesne Works is located in the City Center of Duquesne, Pennsylvania. The site sits on 250 acres of land by the river. While the nearby community is positioned close to the steel blast furnace site, there are active railroad tracks that separate the community from the old Duquesne Steel Works site. In 1987, Allegheny County took control of the former steel blast furnace site.

Later, Allegheny County sold the land to the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) in 1990. Despite heavy flooding from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, there are continued talks to revitalize the area.

Why Contact a Pennsylvania Asbestos Exposure Attorney? 

Having an experienced asbestos exposure attorney is critical to recovering the full compensation you deserve. The success of a claim largely depends on the quality, skills, and resources of your representation. 

At D’Amico Law Offices, we have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Our family-run law firm is committed to helping those suffering from asbestos-related injuries and their families. 

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an illness or injury related to asbestos exposure, please call our offices at (412) 652-9300. We can schedule a free case evaluation and go over the details of your claim. 

Asbestos Exposure – Duquesne Works FAQs

If your employer’s negligence caused your asbestos exposure injuries, you may be qualified to file a personal injury claim. Traditionally, workers’ compensation protects employers from direct lawsuits. However, Pennsylvania allows personal injury lawsuits against employers for certain occupational diseases, including asbestos-related illnesses. 

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous carcinogen. Some of the most common asbestos exposure injuries and illnesses involve:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Pleural effusions, or fluid on lungs
  • Lung scarring
  • Kidney cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis, which can cause permanent lung damage

Asbestos is comprised of microscopic fibers that can cause severe damage to the lungs when inhaled. 

An asbestos exposure attorney is key to successfully securing your full compensation. At D’Amico Law Offices, our talented legal team will:

  • Extensively investigate your case
  • Gather critical evidence
  • Retain relevant experts and investigators
  • Prepare and file your claim
  • Negotiate a fair settlement 
  • Represent you in court, if necessary

Our personal injury firm has years of experience helping the victims of asbestos exposure recover the financial compensation they deserve. Call (412) 652-9300 to schedule a free consultation and discuss the details of your asbestos injury case.