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Asbestos Exposure at Carborundum in Niagara Falls, New York
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Carborundum

In recent years, former employees of Carborundum have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Laborers employed at both the Buffalo Avenue and Walmore Road plants were at high risk for exposure to asbestos-containing materials. Carborundum, located in Niagara Falls, New York, manufactured general purpose grinding wheels that were used to grind steel, metal alloys and other materials. Carborundum became very well known for its diamond wheel product, which was used to grind materials that were harder than steel. Raw asbestos was used in diamond molding compounds. Laborers who handled raw asbestos or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at a high risk for injurious exposure, and at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

Carborundum had over 60,000 different product lines, including 45 grinding wheel products with hundreds of variations. Carborundum’s diamond wheel products were so popular that they had their own division called the Super Abrasives Division. The diamond wheels were used for industrial applications, such as in machine shops and in tool and die shops. Bakelite, an asbestos-containing plastic molding compound, was incorporated into the center of the diamond grinding wheels. Raw asbestos was incorporated into Bakelite in order to add strength and durability. Carborundum workers have indicated that the buildings where molds were produced commonly filled with airborne dust from morning to night.

Asbestos-containing materials were also incorporated in other equipment at both Carborundum's Buffalo Avenue and Walmore Road plants. Building 89, at the Buffalo Avenue plant, contained machinery needed for the manufacture of grinding wheels. Repairs on machinery were made on a daily basis, and from 1900 to the late 1970s asbestos-containing materials were utilized in the machinery. Millwrights and individuals who worked on or in the vicinity where machinery was being repaired or maintained are also at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma. Asbestos-containing gaskets, valves, packing, flanges, pumps, and machine brakes were utilized in this equipment.

During the removal and application processes of asbestos-containing materials, large amounts of dust and fibers were emitted into the air of the buildings where repair work was conducted. Workers describe the conditions in these buildings as being similar to a “London Fog” or snowstorm. Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed employees at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those not who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.

In the process of representing workers and their families, we have gathered a vast amount of information the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. 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 Carborundum and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.