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Plant Insulation Company

When the first wave of asbestos-related litigation began in the 1970s, Fibreboard defended Plant Insulation from legal claims. By the late 1980s, Plant Insulation’s insurers started pulling back its coverage of asbestos claims. By the time Plant Insulation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company had thousands of pending claims. In 2013, the Plant Insulation trust was funded with $131.5 million.

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Plant Insulation Company sold, installed and repaired asbestos-containing insulation and fireproofing materials in California. Plant Insulation was the exclusive distributor for Fibreboard Company, which produced insulation.

How was the Plant Insulation Company Trust Formed?

The Plant Insulation Company incorporated on March 23, 1937, as an insulation contractor that installed and removed insulating products. From the late 1940s through 1990, Plant Insulation held an exclusive contract with Fibreboard Company to distribute its Pabco and CalTemp brands of high-temperature block and pipe insulation.

Through 1971, the Fibreboard products contained asbestos. Plant Insulation stopped installing Fibreboard’s asbestos-containing products in 1972. However, Plant Insulation continued to maintain, repair, remove and displace other asbestos-containing products.

In 2001, Plant Insulation stopped working under its own name and transferred its operation to the newly formed Bayside Insulation and Construction. Bayside was owned by Shahram Ameli, who had a 49 percent interest in Plant Insulation.

When Plant Insulation was ready to file for bankruptcy protection, the asbestos claimants formed a committee that demanded the company merge with Bayside. The merger would provide claimants with easier access to trust fund compensation.

Exposed to Asbestos

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Plant Insulation Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was used in insulation to make the products resistant to heat and fire. The fine and lightweight fibers were woven into other materials to create insulation.

Asbestos was found to be useful in insulation and was used across a variety of settings, from homes to military vessels. During World War II, the U.S. Navy found asbestos to be so effective, military leaders ordered it be used in all vessels to protect against fire and extreme heat.

High-Risk Occupations

Since asbestos was used in products that Plant Insulation used, anyone who worked in or near the company’s warehouses are at risk for asbestos contamination.

Workers who face the most significant risk for exposure are employed in the industrial industry, including factories, power plant, refineries and other industrial job sites.

Other professions that are at high risk of developing asbestos-related diseases include the following:

  • Electrician
  • Construction worker
  • Insulator
  • Pipefitters
  • Military veterans
  • Longshoremen
  • Welders
  • Laborers
  • Drywallers
  • Demolition workers

  • The Plant Insulation trust identified several locations in California that have an increased chance for asbestos exposure due to its products. The trust ranked as very high (8), high (27), standard (58), low (93) and very low(81). Some of the sites include the following:

Very High Asbestos Exposure

  • Aerojet-General Corporation (Nimbus)
  • Union Carbide Georgia-Pacific (Elk Grove)
  • Phillips Petroleum (Avon)
  • Plant Asbestos Company (Emeryville and San Francisco)
  • Tidewater Refinery (Avon)

  • High Asbestos Exposure

    • Stauffer Chemical (Martinez)
    • Campbell Soup Company (Sacramento)
    • Exxon Refinery (Benicia)
    • Fibreboard (Antioch)
    • IBM (San Jose)

    • Standard Asbestos Exposure

      • Judson Steel (Emeryville)
      • Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical (Moss Landing)
      • Bankline Oil Company (Bakersfield)
      • C&H Sugar Refinery (Crockett)
      • California Department of Corrections (Vacaville)

      • Low Asbestos Exposure

        • AEC Lawrence (Livermore)
        • Allied Chemical (Port Chicago)
        • Camp Parks (Pleasanton)
        • Chrysler Corporation (Los Angeles)
        • Chabot College (Hayward)

        • Very Low Asbestos Exposure

          • Chevron Oil (Richmond)
          • Kaiser Steel (Fontana)
          • Lucky Lager Brewery (San Francisco)
          • Peralta Hospital (Vernon)
          • Travis Air Force Base (Travis)

          • Settlements and Payments

            The Plant Insulation trust, like other asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, was created to compensate people injured by the reckless use of asbestos. Although the dangers of asbestos were known in the early 1930s, corporations purposely deceived workers and the general public for greater profits.

            The Plant Insulation trust compensates asbestos victims based on the severity and type of disease. The trust also identifies the exposure based on the sites that present a very high, high, standard, low or very low risk of Plant Insulation exposure.

            The trust processes claims by beginning with a base value for the disease level, as follows:

            Disease Compensation
            Mesothelioma $512,799
            Lung Cancer $108,191
            Other Cancers $32,731
            Non-malignant asbestos-related disease $25,957 to $41,825

            The amount awarded is increased or decreased based on various factors, including the claimant’s age, location of exposure, economic losses, and medical and funeral expenses.

            Like other asbestos trust funds, the Plant Insulation trust pays only a percentage of the claims valuation matrix to provide for all current and future claimants. The Plant Insulation trust pays 8.6 percent of claims values.

            Plant Insulation Asbestos-Containing Products

            Plant Insulation distributed, installed, repaired and removed asbestos insulation for decades despite the known dangers. There are several common types of insulation:

            • Block insulation – Block insulation is formed into solid bricks of insulation and can be carved and trimmed to meet a shape. Also known as rigid insulation, block insulation was popular in shipbuilding.
            • Loose fill insulation – Commonly used in walls, attics and floors, loose insulation can repel heat or cold.
            • Insulation wrappings – Insulation wraps were used on pipes, electrical wiring and other surfaces where a wrapped product would best adhere. Even today, pipes across the United States remain wrapped in asbestos-containing insulation.
            • Spray-on insulation – Insulation was mixed with other chemicals to create a slurry that was sprayed onto irregular-shaped areas. Spray-on insulation was commonly used in ship hulls and on steel beams.

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