Rome Strip Steel

While still in business today, Rome Strip Steel began operations at the turn of the 20th century, producing close-tolerance cold rolled strip steel. Rome Strip Steel uses a cold rolling procedure that involves forging the steel without the aid of furnaces or crucibles. Essentially, the rolls of steel are passed through sets of rollers in order to reduce the thickness of each steel roll. If the steel becomes too hard due to pressure, it is annealed and must be heated in order to become flexible again. As a result, Rome Strip Steel facilities contained fireproof asbestos insulation in many areas.

While currently up to date with the latest asbestos regulations, the company, like many others that operated in the early and mid 20th century, used asbestos as insulation in some of their products in years past, as well as in factories to protect expensive machinery. As a result, employees of the company, as well as customers, have suffered from various ailments including pleural plaques, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Asbestos harms the human body when inhaled by infiltrating various organs on a microscopic level. From there, the sharp particles damage cells and can cause certain cancers to form. One of the most common forms of asbestos related cancer is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer that harms the cells in the lining of the chest or abdomen.  As the effects of asbestos have become known, government regulations have been put in place to limit contact with the material, including in the workplace and at home. Asbestos can be caught on clothing and then transferred to another area, even if that area is asbestos free.  Friends and family of metal workers have been known to suffer from asbestos-related disease due to secondhand exposure.

Since 1990, Rome Strip Steel has poured over $20 million into new equipment and improved facilities.  However, as a result of the recent recession, the company has had to severely cut back on its employees’ hours, instituting three and four day workweeks in order to preserve jobs when the market rebounds.  The company relies on the automotive industry for 50 to 60% of its business, so a reduction in demand for new cars has proven unfortunate.