Allied Chemical owned numerous manufacturing facilities throughout the United States, and three Allied facilities were located in Western New York. The largest of the three plants, most recently known as Buffalo Color, was located in Buffalo, on Elk and Lee Streets. Beginning in 1879 and originally part of the National Aniline and Chemical Company, Buffalo Color manufactured many different dyes and colorants for the textiles industry. The sixty-three acre site employed 3,000 workers during its peak production years and was the sole North American manufacturer of indigo dye for denim textiles. In 1976, Allied Chemical sold this facility to the Buffalo Color Corporation, which continued to manufacture dyes until it ceased operations in 2003.
Asbestos-containing materials covered a vast majority of the pipe lines and associated equipment throughout Buffalo Color’s production facilities. Asbestos refractory and insulation materials covered equipment located in the chemical manufacturing facilities, dye plants, and boiler houses. A refractory material is a non-metallic material capable of resisting high temperatures and other destructive forces, such as corrosion and abrasion. Asbestos was an ideal ingredient for refractory materials utilized as insulation that surrounded high heat and corrosive liquids and gases. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Workers employed at Buffalo Color regularly came into contact with asbestos-containing block insulation, cement, pipe covering, gaskets, packing material and pumps. Due to wear and tear, it was common for asbestos-containing materials to be removed and reapplied. Once the worn insulation was removed, reapplication of asbestos insulation was necessary so that the pipes could effectively contain steam and other corrosive or high heat materials. During insulation reapplication, asbestos pipe covering was cut with a band saw and cement was mixed with water. Both processes created large clouds of asbestos dust. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust, and performed their work without masks or protective gear.
Additionally, boilers and vessels were covered with flat, block shaped asbestos-containing insulation that was cut and formed to a custom fit. Pumps and valves were sealed with asbestos gaskets and rope packing. Asbestos-containing spray insulation, or fireproofing, was applied on the structural steel of Buffalo Color’s manufacturing buildings in order to prevent any potential fire hazards. Even in the office areas, asbestos-containing joint compound was used to finish drywall, and asbestos was a component of floor and ceiling tiles. Of course, any individual exposure to any one of these products varied based upon a worker’s years of service and their proximity to the asbestos-containing materials.
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products applied and maintained at National Aniline and Chemical Company a.k.a. Buffalo Color. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at National Aniline and Chemical Company a.k.a. Buffalo Color and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.