For decades, Bondex International manufactured popular lines of patch and repair products used by contractors and homeowners alike. The products, which contained asbestos until the late 1970s, were used for joint compounds, surface preparation, wallpapering, texturing and masonry and concrete repair. Bondex products were used for both small and large projects.
In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned asbestos-containing joint compounds, including Bondex brands. Instead of immediately removing its products from the market, Bondex sought an extension to the deadline for recall. The company’s president, Julius Nemeth, argued asbestos products had been used for centuries and were not an imminent hazard, adding the product recall would have disastrous financial implications on Bondex.
In 2010, Bondex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid a growing wave of asbestos-related litigation. The Bondex Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, funded with $450 million, began processing claims in 2016.
Bondex was popular with do-it-yourselfers and professionals because it had a wide variety of uses and was easy to handle. Homeowners who did repairs using Bondex have an increased risk of asbestos exposure, as do their family members.
Legal experts estimate about 10 million bags of Bondex asbestos-containing joint compound was sold between 1960 and 1978 in the contiguous United States. An estimated 40 million people were exposed, court records show.
The following occupations are at risk for developing Bondex asbestos cancer:
The first Bondex mesothelioma cases were filed in 1980. For nearly 20 years, the number of claimants remained relatively low so the company handled the legal claims in-house, mostly by settling the cases in batches. The company said the number of claims increased sharply in 2000 when other asbestos companies began filing bankruptcy. The court later refuted the claim, finding instead that more Bondex asbestos-containing products were being identified.
Bondex, a subsidiary of Republic Powdered Metals (later known as RPM International), filed for bankruptcy protection while RPM was trying to resolve the company’s asbestos claims. Bondex faced more than 10,000 asbestos-related claims.
Bondex, which was initially owned by Reardon, originally said since its products contained only chrysotile asbestos it less likely than other forms of asbestos to cause mesothelioma and other lung diseases. The statement was later disproved.
The Bondex trust currently pays 22 percent on claims. Similar to other asbestos trusts, Bondex only pays the claimants a percentage of funds requested to ensure there is enough funding for future claims.
There are two general forms of sealants, patching plasters, finishing compounds and joint compounds: one that uses water soluble glue as a binder and sets by evaporation and the other that comes in a powder form and uses water to form a paste. The dry-powder form was used in about 80 percent of the products on the market in 1980, a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found. Bondex products came in both forms, but the dry powder form was generally more popular.
Dry powder compounds were usually packaged in large paper bags that were slit open with a knife and the powder dumped into a container. After water is added, the compound is mixed with an electric drill mixer. The putty, or mud, is applied as necessary and, once dried, is sanded. Dust from the dry mud floats in the air and settles on the ground. The EPA said the release of asbestos from the process is “relatively high.” The most dangerous part of the process is sanding due to the high concentration of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos bankruptcy trusts help families that have suffered after companies blatantly ignored repeated warnings about the dangers. Funds help pay for medical and living expenses and can help alleviate financial stress.
Asbestos victims who decide to make a claim on the Bondex trust have two choices: expedited review or individual review. There are many benefits to both, but the expedited review offers faster access to cash. The following is the schedule of payments for Bondex expedited reviews:
Bondex used asbestos in its products because of its heat, fire and chemical resistance and the ability to increase tensile strength in mixtures. Despite warning from environmental health officials, Bondex tried to sell the product after it was recalled.
Some of the popular Bondex products included the following:
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