BUFFALO, N.Y. – There’s a rich history in Western New York dating back to the days of the Erie Canal, which gave cities like Rochester, Lockport, North Tonawanda, and Buffalo an opportunity to grow. It also gave some manufacturers a population to prey upon.
Western New York boomed with trade and industry in the early to mid-20th century. Some sellers saw an opportunity to market a mineral that could, almost magically, resist heat and be used in almost anything. For some industries, the deal was too good to pass up. The area’s booming auto, steel and manufacturing companies began buying this mineral at a rapid pace.
It could be used in cement – to construct the city’s first skyscrapers.
It could be used on ships – to boost trade throughout the Great Lakes.
It could insulate pipes – to keep water flowing during cold winters.
It could even be woven into fabrics – to keep children warm and safe from fires.
And consumers bought it. They bought it without question. They bought it until they discovered its dirty secret: asbestos is a killer.
Even the Romans – who mined the mineral more than a millennium ago – knew it was bad news. They noted that those who worked with asbestos would become ill and develop breathing problems. Many workers died from their illness.
Nonetheless, salesmen saw an opportunity to get rich off Western New York.
“The asbestos industry knew its products were deadly but it kept that secret for years and that secret has impacted an entire generation in Buffalo,” mesothelioma attorney Steve Barnes said.
Today, more than 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. The Buffalo mesothelioma attorneys at Cellino and Barnes say many of those diagnosed live in Western New York.
“Nearly every major industry in Buffalo was heavily using asbestos during the mid-20th century,” Barnes said. “Some workers didn’t think much of it at the time because it can take 20 to 40 years to develop the symptoms of mesothelioma.”
Niagara County now has one of the highest rates of the disease in the nation and more than 2,500 Western New Yorkers have died in the last 10 years – a direct result of asbestos exposure. Those who were killed built offices and hospitals; they made plastics, auto parts, amusement rides, musical instruments; and they forged steel.
They didn’t get rich but they made a living. More importantly, these Western New Yorkers were proud of the work they did.
Sadly, their employers kept their secret and made billions.
In the 1970’s, federal investigators finally uncovered what the asbestos industry was hiding for years – but for many, it was too late.
“More people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year,” Barnes said. “We continue to see hard-working families suddenly become ill and it’s heartbreaking to think that their disease was spurred-on by commercial greed.”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, the Buffalo mesothelioma attorneys at Cellino & Barnes can get your family the best results possible. Some families have received large settlements and others may be entitled to federal trust funds. These legal actions must be completed quickly – as there is a limited amount of time to file a claim. Contact Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.