Photo Credits Author:Greg Gjerdingen Licensed under creative commons
William Durant formed the General Motors Corporation in 1916. Chevrolet has long been an essential product line in the GM Corporation. Although there are multiple GM facilities that are or have been at one time located in New York, there are two specifically related to the Chevrolet brand: one in Buffalo and another in Tarrytown.
At both of these facilities, workers may have been exposed to asbestos. Learn about your legal rights and how you can obtain compensation for your asbestos-related disease by contacting Belluck & Fox, LLP, for a free case review.
Chevrolet at Buffalo
Chevrolet ran an assembly plant in Buffalo beginning in 1923. It was at this plant that the first Chevrolet automobile was assembled on August 13th, 1923. The facility employed roughly 400 workers at the time.
When the U.S. entered World War II the plant’s production of civilian automobiles was interrupted. In 1942 alone, Chevrolet-Buffalo produced components for more than 60,000 aircraft engines and employed 6,000 people. After the war the facility became a manufacturing plant producing rear axles for passenger trucks and cars.
In 1984 the plant became part of another GM division known as the Saginaw Division and spent 10 years in service as Saginaw Gear and Axle until acquisition by American Axle Manufacturing (AAM). It was unionized by Local 434 of the UAW under the reorganization of GM but AAM closed the Buffalo plant in 2007 due to lagging demand for mid-sized pickup trucks and SUVs.
Chevrolet North Tarrytown
When William Durant began his company, there was already a facility in Tarrytown, now called Sleepy Hollow. This facility was an early automobile factory opened by Stanley Steam Car Company in 1896.
After acquisition by several other companies, including Maxwell-Briscoe, Chevrolet purchased portions of the North Tarrytown facility, which was independent from GM at the time. This occurred in 1914-1915, and when Chevrolet became part of GM in 1918, the plant continued in operation until it finally produced its last minivans in 1996.
Asbestos and Chevrolet
Auto plants employ vast networks of high temperature piping and machinery. Plants built until 1980 had asbestos-containing pipes, boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, gaskets, tanks, and other equipment.
Chevrolet New York workers may also have been exposed through asbestos-containing brake shoes, brake linings and brake pads. At Chevy’s Buffalo plant, asbestos-containing brake parts were components of the axles constructed there.
Grinding these brake components to size would have created airborne asbestos fibers. Automobile gaskets, clutches, transmission components and cylinder heads also contained asbestos. Certain plastic components of automobiles like brake blocks and engine components may have contained asbestos as well. In addition, prior to the 1970s numerous building materials contained asbestos, particularly those used to construct industrial facilities such as automobile plants. These materials included firebrick, electrical panels, joint compounds, tiles, and fireproofing.
Chevrolet’s New York Plants thus had many possible sources of asbestos exposure, making workers there prime suspects for developing asbestos-related disease. Family members of Chevy NY plant workers may too been exposed to asbestos, as fibers can be carried home on clothing or hair.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a cancer that develops on the lining of the lung, heart, or abdomen. Asbestos can also cause lung cancer, lung tissue scarring (asbestosis), and other lung problems.
Mesothelioma symptoms may not develop for 15-60 years after exposure to asbestos, making it difficult to connect the disease with workplace conditions. Early detection of his fast-spreading cancer, however, is critical. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, new and promising treatments are continually being developed. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better your chances of a favorable prognosis.
As a former Chevrolet New York employee, if you notice shortness of breath accompanied by chest pain—or any other mesothelioma symptoms—visit your physician and tell them of your possible asbestos exposure.
What to Do if you Have Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, consult with Belluck & Fox, LLP, a law firm nationally-recognized for obtaining some of the largest asbestos verdicts in the U.S. We are familiar with New York’s Chevrolet plants, where asbestos was used in their facilities, and which companies supplied the asbestos to Chevrolet.
To learn how Belluck & Fox can protect you and your family, contact us today for a free case consultation.