In 1917, the Alpha Portland Cement Company acquired the former Thomas Millen Company’s cement plant on Ogle Road in Jamesville, New York. In 1952, Alpha added a new concrete plant at the current site in order to increase production, and in 1959, new storage silos were constructed. The Alpha Portland Cement plant in Jamesville manufactured Portland cement, mortar and fast-setting cement. The plant consisted of fourteen buildings on 130 acres, and it was capable of producing 2,750 barrels of cement per day. In 1981, the Jamesville plant closed due to poor economic conditions in the construction industry.
In recent years, former employees of Alpha Portland Cement have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos was incorporated into packing material and gaskets utilized during maintenance procedures at Alpha. Exposure to dust and fibers emitted from asbestos-containing materials can cause mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Asbestos-containing packing material was used at Alpha Portland Cement in order to prevent leaks from pump shafts and valve stems. Workers at Alpha Portland Cement used pumps and valves in order to shift the flow of concrete from one tank to another. Packing material was manufactured as a woven material with squared edges, and it was often impregnated with chemicals and minerals, such as carbon and asbestos, in order to allow the shaft or stem to move freely. During maintenance, workers removed the worn packing material with a tool called a packing puller. New packing material was cut to fit the circumference of the shaft or stem and inserted. Removing and applying packing material emitted asbestos dust and fibers into the air, which workers inhaled.
Asbestos-containing gaskets were also utilized at Alpha Portland Cement in order to ensure a tight seal between pipe flanges, pumps, valves and other equipment within the cement pumping system. Due to frequent wear and tear, workers at Alpha Portland Cement replaced gaskets during maintenance procedures. When a gasket was replaced, workers scraped the old gasket off the flange, which caused asbestos dust to become airborne. A new gasket was fabricated from a sheet of asbestos-containing gasket material. Holes were punched into the gasket to match the bolt holes on the flange. Cutting and punching the gasket material emitted asbestos fibers.
Inhaling dust and particles from the application of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease. If you or a loved one worked at the Alpha Portland Cement Company in Jamesville, New York, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.