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North American Refractories

For nearly five decades, North American Refractories produced heat- and fire-resistant refractory materials for furnaces and boilers used in industrial applications. Many of the company’s products relied on asbestos because of its abilities to withstand high heat and fire.

The company, commonly known as NARCO, grew through a series of mergers and acquisitions and was owned by Honeywell until 1986. During that time, NARCO added other asbestos-containing products to its offerings, including brake pads and furnace fittings. NARCO had manufacturing locations in several states including Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. The company is currently owned by ANH Refractories, which is formerly known as RHI Refractories.

NARCO’s Hazardous Occupations

NARCO employees and their families are at risk for developing diseases related to asbestos exposure because many of the company’s products were made with the dangerous mineral.

NARCO’s plants nationwide employed people who now have an increased risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Their families and close friends are at risk of developing second-hand asbestos diseases as well. Among the high-risk occupations include:

  • Engineers
  • Boilermakers
  • Brick masons
  • Welders
  • NARCO factory workers
  • Metal workers
  • Concrete laborers

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How Was The NARCO Trust Formed?

North American Refractories Company was founded in 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, as a combination of several companies, including Crescent Fire Brick Company in Pennsylvania and Dover Fire Brick Company in Ohio. NARCO grew to become one of the largest asbestos refractory material manufacturers in the United States. The company initially just produced refractory cement that contained asbestos. The cement was used in high-heat areas, including furnaces, fireplaces and barbecues.

  • As NARCO became more popular, the company expanded its product line for use in iron, steel and glass furnaces. NARCO also owned quarries and mines in Pennsylvania.
  • In 1979, Honeywell purchased NARCO and merge the company to be part of Honeywell’s heating division. By the time the NARCO division of Honeywell stopped selling asbestos-containing products, thousands of people had been exposed to the dangerous mineral.
  • By 2002, NARCO settled 176,000 asbestos-related cases at the cost of $2,200 per case. By 2016, the NARCO trust paid 5,808 claims a total of $92.7 million.
  • The NARCO trust pays 60 percent of requested funds for claims involving severe asbestosis and malignancies and 40 percent for nonmalignant diseases.

How Did NARCO Use Asbestos?

NARCO began operating at the turn of the century as the need for new housing increased. Companies like NARCO were central to brickmaking for the increase homes being built. Many refractories, including NARCO, built company housing in towns near the factories. The earliest location of NARCO had more than 400 employees.

By early 1940, NARCO operated 12 plants, 18 mines and two quarries. Of the 12 plants, 10 NARCO plants manufacture fireclay products and two manufacture silica bricks. Many of the plants specialize in specific products, including blast furnace bricks and spalling resistant roof bricks. The company also had warehouses in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Ontario.

The use of asbestos continued for decades despite the known dangers. Across the United States, manufacturers that use asbestos in its products concealed its use to put profits ahead of people.

NARCO Payment Percentage

When the NARCO asbestos trust was developed, a fixed amount of money was set aside to pay claimants now and in the future. As of 02/9/23 the NARCO asbestos trust pays 100% of the settlement value for approved claims.

Anyone seeking funds from the NARCO trust must first determine which kind of distribution option works best for their compensation. The options are as follows:

NARCO Individual Review

The individual review allows claimants who have extenuating circumstances to have a personalized review of their claim. An individual review may result in a payment of the full value of the claim or may result in no payment at all. The NARCO trust also allows for claims due to secondary (family) exposure. The average full value of an NARCO individual review trust claim is as follows:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $250,000
Lung Cancer $50,000
Other Cancer $25,000
Severe Asbestosis $50,000

NARCO Expedited Review

The expedited review is designed to provide fast access to funds. Claimants who can meet the trust’s medical and exposure criteria often file expedited reviews. The following is a schedule of payments as they relate to disease levels:

Disease Compensation
Mesothelioma $75,000
Lung Cancer $18,000
Other Cancer $9,000
Severe Asbestosis $18,000
Asbestosis/pleural disease Up to $7,500

What NARCO Products Contained Asbestos?

As one of the largest refractories in the United States, NARCO had a large product line. Many of its products contained asbestos because it could increase the strength and heat resistance of any mixture. NARCO identified the following products as part of the trust:

  • Aerogun
  • Anti-Erode Trowel
  • BOF-Cote
  • BOF-Patch
  • CM Gun Mix
  • CM-18 Gun Mix
  • MC-Gun Mix
  • Narcocast Trowels
  • Narcogun
  • Narcolite refractory cement
  • Narmag 60 DBRC
  • Narmag OH Gun Mix
  • Staz-on insulating cement
  • Super 505 Hot Gun
  • Unicote
  • W0-339 MC Gun

Anyone who has been exposed to NARCO refractory products should be aware of any lung, abdominal or heart problems because they may be related to asbestos exposure. Contact us today for more information about filing a NARCO trust claim.

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Written and legally reviewed by Daniel Wasserberg

Attorney and On-Site Legal Advocate

Daniel Wasserberg was a New York metropolitan area “Super Lawyer Rising Star” from 2013 to 2018 (attorneys under age 40), and a Super Lawyer in 2019. In 2017, Daniel was named a “Top 100 Civil Litigator” by the National Trial Lawyers organization. This recognition is rarely awarded to attorneys under the age of 40. Daniel is proud to call himself a Trial Lawyer, and is often asked to speak at gatherings of the nation’s leading attorneys, from both sides of the bar.

Learn More


  • The NARCO Asbestos Trust. Retrieved from <a href="https://www.narcoasbestostrust.org" rel="nofollow" https://www.narcoasbestostrust.org
  • NARCO frequently asked questions. Retrieved from <a href="http://www.claimsres.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/NARCO-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf" rel="nofollow" http://www.claimsres.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/NARCO-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf
  • Ramsey, John. Refractories – The Backbone Of Industry. Retrieved from <a href="https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b77942&view=1up&seq=8" rel="nofollow" https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b77942&view=1up&seq=8
  • NARCO Asbestos Trust. NARCO distribution procedures. Retrieved from http://www.claimsres.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/TDP.pdf
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Asbestos Trust. Current Payment Percentage. Retrieved from https://www.pccasbestostrust.com