International Paper Company Asbestos Lawsuits
The formation of International Paper in the late 1890s coincided with a huge boom in the demand for paper, printing and associated products. At one stage, just a matter of years after launching, IP produced almost 60% of the newsprint in the United States.
Due to the nature of their business, asbestos was used prominently in International Paper’s activities. Paper is a highly-flammable material that causes fires to spread at an alarming rate. To mitigate against this risk, asbestos was used in the construction of several areas of International Paper’s mills and factories – including insulation, roofing, walls and flooring.
Employees who worked at International Paper’s premises have filed lawsuits related to asbestos exposure, claiming that they suffered from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma as a result of working in close proximity to asbestos.
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Associated Industries and Occupations At Risk
International Paper operated paper mills, including the Hudson River Mill in Conrith, New York. This mill was originally constructed in the 1860s. Due to the flammable properties of paper and similar products, the facility was built with large quantities of asbestos. Maintenance, cleaning and development of the mill in subsequent decades – long before the true risk of asbestos to human health was recognized – posed an enormous risk to paper mill workers. When asbestos fibers are disturbed and thrown into the air, inhalation by humans can cause them to settle in the lungs – resulting in mesothelioma.
In addition to their primary focus on the paper and pulp sector, IP also expanded in the 1920s, when they acquired a number of power plants. Their hydroelectric plants were manufactured with large amounts of asbestos, due to their fire-resistant properties. In addition, workers at power plants were often issued with fire-resistant, protective clothing which contained asbestos.
Due to their size and position as a leading provider of paper and pulp products, International Paper has employed thousands of people over the past century.
As a result of their activities, workers in the following occupations were at risk of asbestos exposure as a result of working for International Paper:
- Paper mill employees
- Maintenance workers
- Insulation workers
- Construction workers
- Demolition workers
The risk wasn’t limited to employees, either. Family members living with employees of International Paper faced the risk of secondary exposure in their own homes. Asbestos fibers deposited on employee clothing could transfer onto furniture or other household items. When cleaned or moved, these fibers could be thrown into the air, risking asbestos exposure.
Level Of Asbestos Risk For International Paper Company Employees
Many of the occupations associated with International Paper are listed as high-risk for asbestos exposure. For example, construction workers and insulators were at significantly higher risk, due to the fact that they would have directly handled asbestos in the construction of IP’s paper mills. Other workers, such as roofers and plumbers, are deemed as medium-risk.
Information On Mesothelioma Risk For Paper Mill Workers
Paper mills, by their nature, are at significant risk from fires spreading due to the materials contained within them. When paper sets alight, it burns quickly and can result in the flames spreading at an immensely rapid rate.
Paper mills such as those operated by the International Paper Company were therefore constructed with significant amounts of asbestos – contributing to the increased risk of workers developing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma.
- A 2013 study of Swedish paper and pulp mill workers reviewed workers’ experiences over six decades. It found that “risks of pleural mesothelioma were increased among males employed in sulphate pulping”.
- A 2001 study of paper mill workers in the Canadian province of British Columbia found that there was an increased risk to these workers of developing various types of cancers, including mesothelioma.
- Research by the European Commission published in 2022 estimated that 70,000 people across the European Union had died in 2019 alone as a result of past exposure to asbestos in their line of work, including those working in paper mills and factories.
Latest News, Resources & Legal Cases
Paper Mill Lung Disease Death Prompts Widow to File Lawsuit [February 2018]
Benefield v. International Paper Co. [October 2010]
John C. Tutt v. International Paper Company [December 2004]
Alfred Austin v. Abney Mills, Inc. [September 2002]
Jenkins v. International Paper Co. [November 1994]
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- PR Newswire, “International Paper Reports Full-Year and Fourth Quarter 2022 Results”. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/international-paper-reports-full-year-and-fourth-quarter-2022-results-301734014.html
- Investors.com, “Hugh Chisholm Got International Paper Rolling”. Retrieved from https://www.investors.com/news/management/leaders-and-success/hugh-chisholm-was-primary-founder-of-international-paper/
- National Library of Medicine, “Cancer incidence among Swedish pulp and paper mill workers: a cohort study of sulphate and sulphite mills”. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22644408/
- National Library of Medicine, “Cohort cancer incidence among pulp and paper mill workers in British Columbia”. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11409593/
- European Commission, “Commission acts to better protect people from asbestos and ensure an asbestos-free future”. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_5679
- Justia, “Jenkins v. International Paper Co.”. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/arkansas/supreme-court/1994/94-336-0.html
- Justia, “Alfred Austin v. Abney Mills, Inc.”. Retrieved from https://cases.justia.com/louisiana/supreme-court/01c1598.pdf
- Justia, “John C. Tutt v. International Paper Company”. https://law.justia.com/cases/arkansas/court-of-appeals/2004/ca04-584.html
- Justia, “Benefield v. International Paper Co.”. Retrieved from https://casetext.com/case/benefield-v-international-paper-company
- Top Class Actions, “Paper Mill Lung Disease Death Prompts Widow To File Lawsuit”. Retrieved from https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/paper-mill-lung-disease/