Union Carbide Asbestos Lawsuits
Union Carbide produces chemical and polymers that undergo one or more transformations, and are used in a wide variety of household, industrial and agricultural products.
Due to a complex history of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships over the past century, the company may be related to, or known by, several other business names, including:
- Union Carbide
- Union Carbide Corporation
- Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation
- Carbide and Chemicals Corporation
- Bakelite Corporation
- Dow Chemical
- Dow Chemical Corporation
Between 1963 and 1985, Union Carbide operated an asbestos mine in King City, California. The mine was a source of a type of chrysotile asbestos which the company sold under the brand name Calidria.
Union Carbide is different from other companies liable for asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma, as it did not actually manufacture products containing asbestos. However, the company mined and processed asbestos, before selling it under the Calidria brand name to other companies. These companies then used asbestos to manufacture and sell their products, which ranged from paint to cement, and wall coatings to adhesives, among others.
Internal documents and litigation efforts in recent decades show that leadership at Union Carbide were acutely aware of the dangers of asbestos, and actively downplayed the risk to companies who purchased their Calidria product. This has resulted in numerous lawsuits from other companies – not to mention the human toll of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diagnoses from Union Carbide workers who came into contact with asbestos.
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Occupations and Industries Affected
The asbestos extraction process at the King City mine contributed to asbestos exposure for the hundreds of employees working for Union Carbide between 1963 and 1985. Exposure to asbestos poses a large risk to human health, and contributes to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Due to the nature of their work, individuals working at the King City mine were at significant risk from exposure to asbestos. These workers were in direct contact with asbestos, and were likely to have inhaled the tiny, harmful particles which would remain in their bodies. When these particles stick in the lungs, it contributes to conditions like mesothelioma.
In addition to the workers themselves, other individuals were also put at risk of asbestos exposure. For example, friends and family members who were in close contact with employees who had spent countless hours working in the King City asbestos mill. After returning home, the asbestos particles may have also settled on clothing and furniture, creating secondary exposure.
Level Of Risk For Asbestos Miners
Of all occupations, asbestos miners faced the greatest danger of illnesses and diseases arising from asbestos exposure. This risk was heightened because of their direct exposure to asbestos in the extraction process. Many miners were also not informed of the level of risk posed to them by asbestos exposure.
Industries and Companies Which Used Union Carbide’s Calidria Product
Union Carbide did not directly manufacture products containing asbestos; instead, they provided asbestos to other companies for their manufacturing processes. The company sold their Calidria asbestos product to manufacturers in the following industries:
Companies known to have used Union Carbide’s Calidria product include Georgia-Pacific, Kelly-Moore Paint Co., and U.S. Gypsum.
It has also been alleged that executives and senior management at Union Carbide fraudulently promoted Calidria as a uniquely safe asbestos product. In a lawsuit brought against Union Carbide by Kelly-Moore Paint Co. (who themselves had litigation brought against them for asbestos damages), an internal memo from Union Carbide executives in the 1970s was revealed, intimating that the company should “make hay while the sun shines” – referring to the proposal of building a larger mill to deliver asbestos to clients more quickly.
Additional evidence uncovered shows that health warnings were disregarded or ignored by Union Carbide leadership throughout the 1970s, and safety manuals were not updated to inform workers of the dangerous nature of asbestos exposure.
Latest News, Resources & Legal Cases
Aveni v. Union Carbide Corporation [November 2017]
Aubin v. Union Carbide Corporation [October 2015]
Izell v. Union Carbide Corporation [November 2014]
$48m Asbestos Verdict Is The Largest This Year [June 2012)
Stewart v. Union Carbide Corporation [November 2010]
Union Carbide Liable For Asbestos Illnesses [October 2002]
Conwed Corporation v. Union Carbide Corporation [July 2001]
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- The American Lawyer, “Showdown In A Small Town”. Retrieved from https://kkcomcon.com/doc/Kelly-Moore-v-Union-Carbide.pdf
- National Library of Medicine, “Comparison of Calidria chrysotile asbestos to pure tremolite: final results of the inhalation biopersistence and histopathology examination following short-term exposure”. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16020039/.
- Los Angeles Times, “Once Surrounded By Asbestos, Now Surrounded By Their Fears”. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-sep-25-fi-asbestos25-story.html
- Justia, “Fowler v. Akzo Nobel Chemicals, Inc.”. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/new-jersey/supreme-court/2022/a-5-21.html
- Justia, “Aveni v. Union Carbide Corporation”. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/delaware/superior-court/2017/n14c-06-037-asb.html
- Justia, “Aubin v. Union Carbide Corporation”. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/florida/supreme-court/2015/sc12-2075.html
- Justia, “Izell v. Union Carbide Corporation”. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2014/b245085.html
- Law.com, “$48m Asbestos Verdict Is The Largest This Year”. Retrieved from https://www.law.com/dailyreportonline/almID/1202560877195/
- Justia, “Stewart v. Union Carbide Corporation”. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2010/b216193/
- Los Angeles Times, “Union Carbide Liable For Asbestos Illnesses”. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2002-oct-25-fi-asbestos25-story.html
- Justia, Conwed Corporation v. Union Carbide Corporation. Retrieved from https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/287/993/2476138/