Republic Powdered Metals
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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- Bondex Asbestos Trust. Retrieved from http://bondexasbestostrust.com/Resources.aspx
- Hals, Tom. “RPM reaches $797.5 million deal to resolve Bondex asbestos claims.” Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/28/us-rpm-intl-asbestos-settlement-idUSKBN0FX1P320140728#649uDYmTj1VZCSIb.97
- Milfor, Phil and Church, Steven. “Rust-Oleum Maker to Pay $797.5 Million to Asbestos Trust.” Bloomberg Business. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-07-28/rpm-international-to-pay-797-million-for-asbestos-claims