Injury Attorney in Indiana
Coal Tar Pitch (CTP)
Coal Tar Pitch (CTP) is a black chemical substance used in the aluminum
smelting process. It is created during the distillation of crude coal
tar, which is a by-product from the metallurgical coking process. It is
sold to the aluminum industry in both liquid and solid form. OSHA recognizes
coal tar pitch as a carcinogen.
When coal tar pitch is heated, it causes the release of various dangerous
chemicals. These chemicals are referred to as coal tar pitch volatiles
(CTPV). CTPVs are sometimes described as having a smoky or chemical fume
odor. The volatiles drift into the air any time coal tar is baked; once
airborne they are breathed by workers. These dangerous chemicals are also
absorbed through the skin and membranes.
Workers who presently or previously worked in the following areas of a
primary aluminum smelting plant are potentially subject to exposure to CTPVs:
- Receiving/unloading CTP;
- The Green Anode Mill; screen for the above-mentioned cancers.
- Carbon Bake Area;
- Pot Rooms; and
- Maintenance/Mechanical/ Electrical/ Utility personnel who perform their
duties in the above areas of the plant.
It is critical for workers to be educated about the nature of CTP, how
and where it is used in the various phases of the aluminum smelting process,
and how to best avoid or minimize exposure while performing their job
functions. Human exposure to CTP can occur through inhalation of volatiles,
incidental ingestion, and absorption of volatiles through the skin. The
proper use of protective clothing and equipment by workers is important,
but does not eliminate all exposure.
Experts have linked bladder cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and melanoma
skin cancer to coal tar pitch exposure. Since the survival rate for cancer
increases with early detection and proper treatment, it is critical that
workers undergo periodic medical surveillance to screen for the above-mentioned cancers.