The Carbide Graphite Group, Inc., manufactured graphite electrode products, needle coke and calcium carbide. Graphite electrodes transfer electricity to melt scrap iron and steel in electric arc furnaces for use in steel manufacturing.  Laborers who were employed at Carbide Graphite’s Packard Road plant in Niagara Falls, New York, were routinely exposed to coal tar pitch during the production of carbon electrodes.

Carbide Graphite’s massive carbon electrodes were made from coke after it was mixed with coal tar pitch and binders, including peanut oil. When the carbon electrodes were extruded and shaped, they were baked to carbonize the pitch and graphitized by heating to extremely high temperatures, which converted the carbon to graphite. When the electrodes were removed from the furnace, they were smooth and hard and no longer sticky with coal tar pitch residue. Carbide Graphite’s furnaces used in the electrode manufacturing process were very large and cranes were needed to remove the electrodes from such furnaces.

Because the graphitizing process generated significant amounts of toxic fumes and smoke, factory workers who manufactured carbon electrodes were exposed to significant amounts of toxins and can develop lung cancer and other respiratory cancers years after their initial exposure. Carbide Graphite in Niagara Falls, New York, later known as Airco Speer or Speer Carbon, manufactured carbon electrodes for use in the steel-making industry. Carbide Graphite was also the only manufacturer of carbon electrodes that produced its own needle coke, which is a raw material used in the carbon electrode manufacturing process.

Older workers and retirees, who handled coal tar or coal tar pitch are at a significantly increased risk of developing respiratory cancer, including throat and lung cancer, as a result of work they performed twenty-five or more years ago. Cancers are latent diseases, which often do not develop for many years after initial exposure.

There is only one law firm in New York State with the experience in handling cases for carbon electrode production workers, coke oven workers, roofers, and coal tar sealer workers. If you or a loved one is suffering from cancer that you believe may be related to coal tar pitch volatiles (CTPVs), please contact us today, about filing possible legal claims.