Like many other cities prior to the early to mid-1980s, Pittsburgh relied on asbestos for its fire and heat-resistant abilities, as well as its ease of use and affordability. However, heavy asbestos usage led to a myriad of health problems among Pittsburgh workers, making it one of the leading cities for asbestos-related diseases.
If you or a loved one have been injured in Pittsburgh and have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in Pittsburgh, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
The Pittsburgh Steel Industry
Until the 1970s, the steel industry formed the backbone of Pittsburgh’s economy. The rapid growth of the railroad industry in the mid-19th century created a demand for steel, and the invention of the Bessemer Converter made mass production of the metal possible. The proliferation of steel mills in the area earned the city the nickname “Steel City.”
In 1911 alone, Pittsburgh and the surrounding area produced 34% of the nation’s Bessemer steel, 44% of the open hearth steel, 53% of the crucible steel, and 24% of the steel rails. During the same period, 24% of the pig iron and 59% of the structural shapes produced in the U.S. came from Pittsburgh and other communities in Allegheny County.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel (now USX) became the largest steel company in the U.S. when it was founded in 1901 after Carnegie Steel merged with the Federal Steel Company and the National Steel Company. During World War II, Pittsburgh’s steel mills were producing 95% of all the steel in the U.S. Unfortunately, the industry declined in the 1970s, and thousands of steelworkers lost their jobs during the recession of the early 1980s.
Almost every steel company in Pittsburgh has been associated, at one point in time, with extremely high asbestos use.
Other Asbestos-Related Industries
Pittsburgh’s economy relied heavily on other industries. Coal and iron mining were the precursors to the growth of Big Steel. The factories and steel mills in Pittsburgh consumed huge quantities of coal, and during the city’s industrial heyday the skies were so dark that Pittsburgh was known as Smog City.
In the 20th Century, the city diversified its economy. Oil, food processing, shipbuilding, and power generating companies began to operate various facilities in Pittsburgh. These industries were heavy users of asbestos-containing materials, especially in plants and factories built before the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Many of the employees and contractors who worked for these companies are have only recently experienced the symptoms of mesothelioma as the disease can lie dormant for decades. Unfortunately, a good majority of these people are already in the advanced stages of the cancer.
Transportation and Asbestos in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is a major transportation hub that links western Pennsylvania to the rest of the world. Three major airports–Pittsburgh International, Arnold Palmer Regional, and Allegheny County–are located in the Pittsburgh area and provide passenger, cargo and general services.
There are several smaller suburban airports for private planes and corporate jets. Freight and passenger trains run on various railway lines which connect Pittsburgh to other cities in the East Coast and the Midwest, including the Pittsburgh Line to Harrisburg and the Norfolk Southern Railway.
Pennsylvania Station, famous from its mention in the song “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”, is located in Pittsburgh. In addition, six expressways and 12 state and federal highways provide roads for passenger and commercial vehicle travel.
The area’s industrial past and its role as a transportation hub are both linked to asbestos. At the height of the city’s dominance in the steel and metal production industries, thousands of tons of asbestos were used in factories, power plants, and other facilities to protect them from fire and heat.
Asbestos was also used in finished products, such as insulation, brake pads, wiring, roofing shingles, and steam pipes, due to the dangerous minerals’ fire and heat-resistant properties.
Both industrial workers and other Pittsburgh residents were exposed to asbestos at job sites, airports, shipyards, power plants, food processing facilities, oil storage tank farms, refineries, schools, public buildings, historic sites, and even private homes.
Over the past 20 years, many people have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses such as asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma. Pittsburgh is one of many Pennsylvania communities with large numbers of mesothelioma cancer deaths.
Businesses Associated with Asbestos in Pittsburgh:
- B & W Main Tube Plant
- Bellefield Border Plant
- Central Power Plant
- City of Pittsburgh Mayview Plant
- Corning Glass Plant
- Eliza Furnace Plant
- Elrama Power Plant
- H W Oliver’s Central Power Plant
- Henry Phipps Central Power Plant
- Papercraft Plant
- Pilot Plant
- Singer Nimick Plant
- South Side Plant
- Stanwix Heating Plant
- U. S. Steel Chemical Plant
- Saint Anselm High School
- Bailey High School
- Bethel Senior High School
- Carnegie Technical School
- Chartier Valley High School
- The Ellis School
- Northview Heights Elementary School
- Old Fourth Ward School
- Penn Township Junior High School
- South Hills High School
- Aliquippa Steel Company
- Amer Sheet Steel Company
- American Sheet Steel Company
- Apollo Iron Steel Company
- Bethlehem Steel Mill
- Canonsburg Iron and Steel Company
- Carbon Steel Company
- Carnegie Steel Company
- Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation
- Clarion Steel Works
- Clinton Iron and Steel Company
- Colonial Steel Company
- Crucible Steel Company of America
- Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel
- Edgewater Steel Company
- Empire Reeves Steel Company
- Great Lakes Steel
- Hainsworth Steel Company
- Homestead Steel Works
- Illinois Steel Company
- J&L Steel Corp
- Oliver and Snyder Steel Company
- Otis Steel Company
- Park Steel Works
- Parkersburg Iron and Steel Company
- Pittsburgh Steel Foundry
- Pittsburgh Iron and Steel Engineering Company
- Pittsburgh Steel Casting Company
- Pittsburgh Steel Foundry
- Republic Iron and Steel Company
- Schoen Steel Wheel Company
- Shenango Steel
- Sharon Steel Hoop Company
- Shelby Steel Tube Company
- Shoenberger Steel Company
- Shulenberger Steel Company
- Spang Steel and Iron Company
- Standard Steel Car Company
- U.S. Steel Corporation
- Union Steel Casting
- Usx Steel Mill
- Zug Iron and Steel Company
- Allegheny General Hospital
- Braddock Hospital
- C. Howard Marcy State Hospital
- Elizabeth Steel Magee Hospital
- John J Kane Hospital
- Montefiore Hospital
- Passavant Hospital
- St Francis Hospital
- St Margaret’s Hospital
- St. John’s General Hospital
- West Pennsylvania Hospital
Getting Legal Help in Pittsburgh
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain, suffering, and more. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Lawyer David Halpern
David Halpern is an associate attorney at the Pennsylvania mesothelioma firm Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. He earned his law degree from the Widener University School of Law in 1987 and is now licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Halpern has dedicated his career to litigating on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure and was part of a 2010 team that won an $18 million-verdict for two victims.