Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC, represents former and retired workers from Donner Hanna Coke Corporation once located at Mystic and Abby Streets in Buffalo, New York.  Donner Hanna Coke workers who handled asbestos materials, or were in the vicinity of others who did, have a high risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases as a result of asbestos exposure.

The company was formed in 1917 as the Donner-Union Coke Corporation as an equal partnership between the Donner Steel Co. and the Buffalo Union Furnace Co.   The name was changed to Donner-Hanna Coke Corp. in 1924, when the M.A. Hanna Co. of Cleveland acquired the Buffalo Union Furnace Company.  Donner Hanna was involved with research into, and production of, the chemical Xylene during World War II.  The plant ceased operations in May 1982, after the the EPA began to investigate the plant for unsafe and excessive emissions in the 1970s.

Coke Oven Process

This 88 acre facility manufactured metallurgic coke, a necessary element used to make steel.  There are many components of the steel making process. One main ingredient in the steel making process is a material called coke.  Donner Hanna Coke also manufactured coke by-products, including phenol, xylene, xylenol and orthoxylenol, benzene, toluene, ammonium sulfate, gas, coke oven gas and coal tar.  Due to the high-temperature of the coke production process, asbestos materials were commonly used to process materials and chemicals in the high temperature equipment.  Coke is produced by heating coal in a large refractory oven or retort, from which air is excluded, which in turn drives off volatile contents of the coal and leaves behind a residue of pure carbon in the oven. Coke produced in these ovens is then typically charged in a blast furnace along with iron ore and limestone. The end product of this reaction is molten iron.

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Asbestos Exposure at Donner Hanna Coke

For decades, asbestos was used as an insulating material that was applied to a wide variety of surfaces, including pipes, coke ovens, boilers, duct work and vessels.  Workers who handled asbestos materials or were in the vicinity of others who did were at a high risk for injurious exposure, and are at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Workers who worked on top of or alongside coke oven batteries are at a substantially increased risk for developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers.

Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford represents many of the Buffalo, New York residents who are former coke factory workers of Donna Hanna Coke Corporation.  Many years later, a number of former coke factory workers are suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases.  If you or a loved one worked at any of the various coke oven operations around the area, including Donner Hanna, and if you are suffering from mesothelioma,  lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases, please contact us for a free consultation. Former coke oven workers, even if they smoked cigarettes, may have valuable claims that can be pursued in Court against companies responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of coke ovens. Our services include lawsuits against manufacturers and claims under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law.