Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mobil and Asbestos

The Mobil Oil Corporation, now known as ExxonMobil and headquartered in Irving, Texas, was founded as part of the breakup of the Standard Oil Company. Due to the nature of its industry, the company made extensive use of products that contained asbestos. As a result, many former employees have developed health issues arising out of their exposure to asbestos fibers.


History of the Company


Mobil Oil began as a result of the order for Standard Oil to break apart into smaller companies after the U.S. Supreme Court found that the company violated federal antitrust laws. In 1931, two of the companies that were spawned out of the breakup, Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of NY (Socony), merged into Socony Vacuum and sold a product called Mobilgas. In 1955, the company changed its name to Socony Mobil Oil, before becoming Mobil Oil in 1966.


Mobil merged with the Exxon Corporation in 1999, becoming ExxonMobil. Today, it is the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in the world. ExxonMobil operates 38 oil refineries in 21 countries, capable of a combined daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels. The company produces and sells crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas.


Importantly, the company has never filed for bankruptcy, which means it has not been required to set up an asbestos trust fund in order to assist victims of exposure to asbestos.


Mobil and Asbestos


In order to produce oil and manage oil refineries, a significant amount of heavy-duty industrial equipment must be used. This equipment is used in the drilling and harvesting of products like oil. Historically, this equipment, which produces a great deal of heat, often contained asbestos. This was because asbestos, which is non-flammable and heat resistant, was widely considered to be the best insulation material for any equipment or vessel that contained anything that was flammable, such as oil and gas.


Some of the different products that the company made or used that contained asbestos include, but are not limited to:


  • Vessels;

  • Carriers;

  • Pipelines;

  • Reactors;

  • Furnaces;

  • Heat exchangers;

  • Boilers; and

  • Protective clothing worn by its refinery workers.

The asbestos placed certain employees at a significant risk of exposure while they worked for the company, including insulators, metal workers, engineers, electricians, and chemical workers.


Dangers of Exposure


When asbestos is disturbed, it can release microscopic fibers into the air. After prolonged, sustained exposure to these fibers, individuals may be at risk for the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma and other cancers. While the use of asbestos was widely discontinued in the 1980s, the effects of exposure in some cases may not develop for decades. Unfortunately, when issues arise, they are usually highly dangerous.


Helping Victims


For more information about how to seek damages for the harm you have suffered as a result of exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel to victims of asbestos exposure to provide them with help. We look forward to hearing from you to discuss your situation.



Mobil and Asbestos

Monday, October 26, 2015

Asbestos in Fire Prevention Products

The use of asbestos in products to help provide protection from fire first began centuries ago, but it became increasingly more common during the early twentieth century. Asbestos is a very effective material to provide fireproofing and fire protection, but it is also very dangerous when its microscopic fibers are inhaled. Since the 1980s, the use of asbestos has almost entirely been discontinued.


Fire Protection


Asbestos was an inexpensive additive used in numerous fire-resistant products. Beginning in the mid-1800s, asbestos was used in textiles, woven into fabrics to make them more resistant to fire. Some of the resulting products included suits for firefighters, laboratory gloves, and theater curtains. These textiles were also used in other fire-resistant fabrics, clothes, insulations, and coatings.


The use of asbestos was also quite common in construction materials to help with preventing fires. Some of these products included:


  • Roofing shingles;

  • Wallboard panels;

  • Concrete;

  • Tar paper;

  • Plastic cement; and

  • Ceiling tile.

Asbestos is particularly well suited for all of the above mentioned applications because it is non-flammable and non-combustible, with a melting point of around 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, asbestos is made up of very strong, flexible fibers.


Dangers of Asbestos in Fire Prevention Products


In the 1970s, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) completed studies that led to a determination that the use of asbestos should be restricted. The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) determined that the use of fire-proofing spray containing asbestos should be completely prohibited. However, NESHAP revised that decision in 1990, advising that asbestos-containing spray may be used, but that any such spray must contain either less than one percent asbestos or have the asbestos encapsulated with a binder.


Fire-proofing spray was particularly dangerous because it is a wet, foam-like material upon its application. As the spray dries, it becomes much more friable, which means it becomes more susceptible to crumbling. Additionally, over time, the spray continues to dry out and become even more friable.


It is important to note that the specific level of asbestos content varies by the particular product. For example, ceiling tiles averaged around ten percent asbestos, whereas some textiles were made entirely of asbestos. The occupations at the highest risk of exposure are construction workers and firefighters. This is because renovation projects or a fire can lead to the damage and disturbance of fibers.


Asbestos becomes dangerous when its microscopic fibers are released into the air and breathed into the lungs. Exposure to these fibers can lead to the development of serious diseases, including mesothelioma and other cancers. While the use of asbestos was largely discontinued in the 1980s, products containing asbestos still exist in many homes and other buildings today.


Compassionate Help


The use of asbestos was extremely common for much of the twentieth century, which caused many people to be exposed to dangerous fibers. For information about the legal remedies available to victims of exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we will travel to you to help.



Asbestos in Fire Prevention Products

Friday, October 23, 2015

General Motors and Asbestos

One of the nation’s most recognized companies, General Motors (GM) has been manufacturing automobiles for over 100 years. As the company grew, it entered other industries as well. Many of the products that GM and its subsidiaries created contained asbestos and, because of the size of GM, the number of people impacted by the company’s use of asbestos is extensive.


History of GM


GM was founded in Flint, Michigan on September 16, 1908 by William Durant. At that time, GM only owned the Buick Motor Company. However, Durant would go on to purchase more than 30 companies with the intention of bringing all of them together under the GM label. These companies included Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Cadillac. Today, GM is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.


As the company began expanding, it entered other industries apart from the manufacturing of automobiles. For example, it acquired subsidiaries like Frigidaire and the Delco Appliance Corporation. Additionally, GM helped during World War II by producing tanks, naval ships, and planes. Today, GM also provides consumer lending services.


General Motors and Asbestos


The disturbance of asbestos causes microscopic fibers to be released into the air, which can be breathed into the lungs. Those fibers can cause serious health issues, like the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. An individual may live for several years after exposure to asbestos fibers before any health complications become apparent.


GM purchased products containing asbestos from numerous outside companies, which led to the company being named in a number of lawsuits. For example, Borg-Warner produced clutch parts that contained chrysotile asbestos, which GM used from the early 1960s into the 1980s. The majority of the lawsuits involving GM related to brake linings and clutch facings. GM used asbestos (or products that contained asbestos) in brake and clutch assemblies from the 1930s to the 1980s. Asbestos was also used in adhesives, gaskets, and electrical parts.


Individuals at significant risk included automobile mechanics, warehouse employees, brake and clutch assemblers, and boiler workers. Risk of asbestos exposure also extended to sales people of automobile parts and consumers. Many parts were widely available at stores to enable consumers to work on their own cars. GM subsidiaries, like Frigidaire and Delco manufactured products that contained asbestos to insulate boilers and ovens. This placed individuals who repaired or installed these products at risk, as well as consumers.


The company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and emerged from it the same year. As a result of its bankruptcy, GM was forced to create an asbestos trust fund. This was completed in 2012 and contains $625 million for the benefit of victims of exposure to asbestos that can be traced to GM.


Helping Victims


If you have developed health issues as a result of exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to recover for the damage you have suffered. For more information about potential legal remedies, contact an attorney with experience handling mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cases today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we will travel to you to provide our help.



General Motors and Asbestos

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Asbestos in Automotive Parts

The automobile industry was one of the driving forces behind the growth of the United States. Today, automobiles are everywhere you look and have been for decades. They provide reliable and easy access to transportation. Unfortunately, they also contained significant amounts of asbestos.


Asbestos in Automotive Parts – Products Containing Asbestos


Asbestos was used in automobile parts because of its heat-resistance capabilities. It was commonly used in brake and clutch components. Other auto parts that contained asbestos include hood liners, gasket materials, heat seals, and valve rings.


As part of normal use, asbestos brake linings wore down as a result of friction, releasing large amounts of microscopic asbestos fibers. These fibers often became trapped within the brake housing. When auto mechanics or owners opened the housing, the dust containing asbestos was released into the air and breathed in. Similarly, clutch systems naturally wore down and caused asbestos to become ground down and released into the air as dust.


An estimated 900,000 auto mechanics were exposed to asbestos fibers from brake and clutch parts. Despite the risks of exposure to asbestos fibers, the use of asbestos never completely ended. Asbestos can be found in linings within high-end foreign automobiles and in some aftermarket products.


Due to the sheer size of the automotive industry, the number of companies that manufactured products that contained asbestos are numerous. Some of these companies include automobile manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, and Daimler-Chrysler, as well as parts manufacturers and suppliers including but not limited to:


Abex, Federal-Mogul,


Bendix- a division of Honeywell,


Pneumo Corporation,


Pep Boys,


Advance Auto Parts,


Fisher Auto Parts,


Raymark Industries,


Genuine Parts Company,


O’Reilly Automotive, Inc.,


Autozone,


Ren Auto Parts, and


Austin Auto Parts


It is important to keep in mind that the companies named above are just a fraction of the companies that made automotive products with asbestos.


Dealing with Products Containing Asbestos


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued warnings to mechanics to assume that all brake systems contain asbestos. In addition, OSHA has informed of cleaning techniques that may release asbestos fibers into the air:


  • Using a vacuum cleaner;

  • Using compressed air to clean drum brake systems; and

  • Wiping parts with a dry rag.

OSHA prefers automotive repair shops to use one of the following specific practices to control asbestos dust if they perform more than five brake or clutch jobs per week:


  • Negative-Pressure Enclosure/HEPA Vacuum System Method: Through this method, a special box made up of clear walls or windows is fitted tightly around a brake or clutch assembly thereby keeping any asbestos fibers from escaping into the air; or

  • Low Pressure/Wet Cleaning Method: This method involves the use of a low pressure spray that wets the assembly in order to keep dust from escaping into the air. The runoff is collected in a catch basin.

Helping Victims of Asbestos Exposure


Automobiles have been allowing us to travel easily and inexpensively for over 100 years. Unfortunately, for a large portion of that history, automobiles were manufactured with products that contained asbestos. If you believe that you have been injured as a result of exposure to asbestos, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel the country to provide compassionate legal representation to victims of asbestos exposure.


 



Asbestos in Automotive Parts

Thursday, October 15, 2015

W.R. Grace and Asbestos

Founded in 1854, W.R. Grace (Grace) is responsible for one of the largest asbestos contamination cases in U.S. history. The contamination caused severe harm to its employees and to the residents of the community of the contamination site. The harm forced the company to file for bankruptcy, organize an asbestos trust fund, and face criminal charges. Despite these obstacles, Grace continues to operate today, with its headquarters in Columbia, Maryland.


W.R. Grace and Asbestos History


Grace purchased vermiculite mines and a processing mill in Libby, Montana in 1963, continuing operation there until 1990. The company employed up to 200 people and produced up to 200,000 tons of vermiculite per year. Unfortunately, vermiculite mines are often a source of asbestos as well. This was the case for Grace’s mine and it posed a significant risk to the people who worked in the mines and to those who lived in the area. It is estimated that more than 400 Libby residents have died due to exposure to asbestos fibers.


The Zonolite Mountain mine was closed in 1990 after large amounts of airborne asbestos fibers were detected. This discovery led to numerous asbestos-related lawsuits filed against Grace. These lawsuits included those of residents who lived near the mine, as well as construction workers and homeowners who came into contact with the numerous materials produced by Grace that contained asbestos.


Grace produced specialty chemicals and materials primarily for the construction industry. Some of the products Grace produced included fireproofing materials, plaster, roofing and deck materials, and additives for concrete and cement. The company shipped these products both domestically and internationally.


Criminal Charges


In 2001, criminal proceedings were filed against Grace by the U.S. government. The company, as well as seven of its executives, was charged with concealing information about the health issues that were caused by exposure to the mine. During the case, records were uncovered that showed the company was aware of harm being caused to employees and residents as early as the 1970s, though nothing was done to limit that danger or warn individuals of the risk.


In addition to the criminal charges in 2001, the company also filed for bankruptcy. In 2009, Grace was ordered to pay the U.S. government in excess of $54 million in order to cover the cleanup costs of its mine. The company established its asbestos trust in 2008 and emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Today, the mine is considered a Superfund site. Superfund is the name given to an environmental program designed to clean up abandoned areas where hazardous materials exist. The disturbed asbestos caused contamination in residences, schools, businesses, water, and soil.


Help for Asbestos Victims


Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause significant health issues, such as mesothelioma and other cancers. For victims of asbestos exposure, it may be possible to recover damages from those responsible for your exposure. If you would like more information about claims that may be possible as a result of your exposure to asbestos, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Firm, we travel to you in order to help you with your claim.



W.R. Grace and Asbestos

Friday, October 9, 2015

Johns Manville

With origins of its company tracing back to before the Civil War, the Johns Manville Corporation is responsible for a significant amount of the asbestos-containing products sold in the United States. Exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma and other serious health conditions. In some circumstances, it is possible for victims to recover monetary damages for the harm caused through asbestos-related claims, including mesothelioma litigation.


History of the Company


The H.W. Johns Manville Corporation is the result of a merger between the H.W. Johns Manufacturing Company, which used asbestos to manufacture fire resistant roofing, and the Manville Covering Company, which manufactured asbestos heat insulation. After the merger was completed in 1901, the company began manufacturing insulation and construction products for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings.


Some of the products manufactured by the company include products for roofing, insulation, automotive sheet cylinder packing, acoustical products, and cement, all of which contained some amount of asbestos. The company was also involved in the World War II effort, manufacturing insulation products for Naval Vessels and other war-related products that contained a mix of asbestos and silica. As U.S. involvement in the war increased, the demand for Johns Manville products also increased.


In 1958, the company entered the fiberglass market and by 1974 it had become an industry leader in the manufacturing of fiberglass as well as PVC pipe and asbestos cement pipe. In addition to its manufacturing activities, Johns Manville also owned asbestos mines, including the Jeffrey Mine, an open pit mine located in Canada. The company also exported a significant amount of raw asbestos abroad.


Bankruptcy


The Johns Manville Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 1982 and eventually reorganized in 1988. As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, the company created a trust fund to pay claims made by victims of asbestos exposure that could be traced to the company. It was discovered that the company was aware of the potentially deadly effects of exposure to asbestos fibers, but took steps to conceal that information from workers and consumers.


The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust was originally funded with cash, Johns Manville securities, and insurance proceeds. The company was the first asbestos-producing company to file for bankruptcy and establish a trust fund in order to settle all injury claims. To date, hundreds of thousands of victims have been compensated, with over $4 billion in damages paid. The State of the Trust contains quarterly filings with the court that details important financial information related to the trust.


Johns Manville, with over 7,000 employees worldwide, continues to operate today, with its global headquarters in Denver, Colorado. In addition to many of the same industries it has served historically, the company has expanded into industries such as aerospace and wind energy.


Helping Victims


The Johns Manville Corporation is just one of the numerous companies that contributed to the widespread use of asbestos products in the U.S. for much of the twentieth century. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of exposure to asbestos, speak with an attorney with experience in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related claims. At the Throneberry Law Group, we strive to you to help you obtain the compensation you need.



Johns Manville

Monday, October 5, 2015

Asbestos in Insulation

Asbestos contains microscopic fibers that, when released into the air, can be breathed into the lungs, where they can remain for several years before serious health issues become apparent. Exposure to these fibers can cause serious health issues, including cancers like mesothelioma. Insulation was the largest source of exposure to asbestos for workers throughout the 1900s.


Insulation Use


Insulation provides many benefits, including energy conservation, sound deadening, reduction of electrical conductivity, and help with the retention of hot and cold temperatures. Asbestos was particularly well-suited for these purposes, as it is fire resistant and a poor conductor of electricity. In addition, it was cheap and durable. The use of asbestos in insulation products began in the late 1800s to help protect against high-temperature pipes. By 1874, asbestos insulation products were commercially produced and sold on a large-scale basis.


Asbestos was used in (and can still be found in some) homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. In homes and other buildings, asbestos insulation was used in attics, ceilings, walls, around pipes, boilers, furnaces, and electrical boxes. Bans on the use of asbestos did not occur until the 1970s. In 1991, the ban was lifted, but products cannot contain more than one percent asbestos.


The five main categories of insulation that contained asbestos include:


  1. Attic: used for heating, ventilation, and cooling (air conditioning) systems. The most widely recognized brand was Zonolite.

  2. Pipe: often used to control temperatures of hot pipes, particularly those in the building of ships. Today, it is often crumbly, making it particularly dangerous due to fibers being released into the air. Air Cell was a common type.

  3. Block: applied to concrete blocks of homes and other buildings in order to maintain hot and cold temperatures; it provides protection from outside temperatures.

  4. Wall: controls the temperature inside a structure, like a home. It is placed inside the drywall between the studs. Often, wall insulation needed to be cut, which released fibers into the air, increasing exposure to fibers

  5. Spray Applied: popular because it was simple and inexpensive to apply to spaces to help control temperatures. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) prohibited the use of spray-application materials containing more than one percent asbestos unless encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder.

One of the largest manufacturers of insulation products that contained asbestos was Johns Manville. Workers at particular risk of exposure to asbestos related to insulation included insulators, plumbers, electricians, and pipefitters.


Help for Asbestos Victims


If you believe that you or a loved one have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to recover for the damages you have suffered. For more information, speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related claims today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel across the nation to assist victims in the pursuit of recovery for the damages they have suffered. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing how we can help.



Asbestos in Insulation