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Republic Powdered Metals

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Republic Powdered Metals began in 1947 to manufacture the rustproof and weatherproof coating Alumanation. While RPM grew in the coming decades through acquisitions and expansions none were quite as significant as the purchase of Reardon Company in 1966, maker of Bondex, a household patch and repair product made with asbestos materials. The strain of thousands of asbestos lawsuits forced RPM into bankruptcy in 2010.

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Most of the lawsuits filed against RPM result from the Bondex products, which contained asbestos until the early 1980s. Asbestos was widely used in construction products because of it heat-resistant properties. When RPM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010, it reported some 20,000 asbestos lawsuits that specifically named Bondex. Most of the claimants filed lawsuits in Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Maryland, Ohio and Texas.

Between 2000 and 2010, RPM paid out $598 million in asbestos lawsuits and filed bankruptcy. In 2014, the company announced it would put $797.5 million in trust for asbestos victims, ending a contentious bankruptcy battle. Originally a judge ruled the company should put $1.2 billion in trust to resolve the claims. In its appeal, Bondex said it should only pay $135 million. The resulting amount was seen as a compromise between the two.

Asbestos Exposure

People who have the greatest risk for asbestos exposure from Bondex are those who did any form of home repair, from minor do-it-yourself projects to home building. At the same time, any homeowner using Bondex who did repairs had an increased chance of exposure. Some 40 percent of all Bondex sales were to private consumers. The following occupations had the highest risk for exposure:

  • Construction Workers
  • Roofers
  • Masons
  • Drywall Tapers
  • Demolition Workers

Products Containing Asbestos

RPM had several lines of products under many brand names including Day-Glo, Mohawk, Kop-Coat and Chemspec. Bondex used asbestos in scores of products that were marketed under several names. All of the products were for construction applications.

  • Bondex All Purpose Joint Cement – Covered gaps in drywall
  • Bondex Alumanation Aluminum Roof Coating – A sealant beneath roofing tiles.
  • Dramex Ready Mixed Textured Paint – Used to make a structure more fire resistant.
  • SX Topping Cement – Flooring materials in industrial buildings and basements or concrete resurfacing.
  • Bondek/Bondex Roof Cement – Used in high heat areas to protect against weather extremes.
  • “Stays White” Mobile Home Roof Coating – Protective coating used on roofs.

Asbestos Containing Products

Owens Corning was well known for its groundbreaking insulation products. Most of its products contained asbestos until the early to mid 1970s. The following are some of the more popular asbestos-containing products:

  • Kaylo – This popular brand of insulation was made from 1953 to 1972. Several types of Kaylo were made, including thick sheets called the Kaylo Block and wrap-around insulation called Kaylo pipe insulation. The Kaylo products, including insulation sheets, were also widely used on military vessels. The Kaylo brand was discontinued in 1972.
  • One Cote Insulating Cement – This asbestos-containing cement powder was sold in large bags to be reconstituted with water. Workers breathed in asbestos fibers when the powder was released from the bag.
  • OCF Mastic– Mastic adhesives, thick cement-type products, are widely used in industrial settings to repair or secure flooring and tiles. Asbestos is added to mastic adhesives to increase the tensile strength and make it chemical and heat resistant.

Asbestos Products

From floor to ceiling, there were dozens of materials that used asbestos. While most of these products are no longer on the market, some of Armstrong’s products still contain asbestos. Government regulations allow some asbestos to be used in some products still. Armstrong World Industry used the following products that contained asbestos:

  • Limpet – Armstrong’s Limpet spray insulation, which was commonly known as flock insulation, was used from 1960 to 1973 and was completely made from asbestos. It was removed from the market because it was vulnerable to impact damage and water penetration.
  • Insulation Board – Used as a standard fire, heat and acoustic insulation, the insulation boards contained between 25 and 40 percent asbestos fiber. These boards were vulnerable to impact damage and deterioration.
  • Vinyl Flooring – Asbestos was also used as an insulator in these tiles. They are known to become brittle and break.

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