Western MacArthur Asbestos Trust

Asbestos was extensively used in Western MacArthur products because of its heat resistance and insulating properties. Western MacArthur used asbestos in its products until the late 1970s, when federal regulators determined it was unsafe. By then thousands of people who were exposed to Western MacArthur products had sued. The bankruptcy court established the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust in 2004. Western MacArthur has $2 billion in trust.

Created through a merger of Western Asbestos and the MacArthur Company in 1967, Western MacArthur became a large manufacturer of insulation products, among other things. The Western MacArthur product line also includes roofing and heating materials, air-conditioning and ventilation products. Like other companies in the same era, asbestos was regularly used. Western MacArthur is most commonly known for its insulation products that were used in buildings and ships. Much of this asbestos insulation still remains.

Even though the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, it is still one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of insulation materials in the nation. The company also sells roofing, fire protection and fiber-reinforced plastic products. The company has more than 35 locations nationwide.

Asbestos Exposure Risk

There were dozens of occupations that were at risk for asbestos exposure. For those who worked for Western MacArthur, this includes sales personnel, warehouse workers, truck drivers and estimators. In addition, thousands of employees who didn’t work for Western MacArthur were also exposed:

  • Construction Workers – Those who installed Western MacArthur insulation products in any form run the risk of asbestos-exposure illnesses, including mesothelioma. All Western MacArthur insulation products through the 1970’s included asbestos.
  • Shipyard Workers – Western MacArthur insulation and cloth was widely used in shipyards. Workers were never instructed to wear protective face or body coverings.
  • Naval Personnel – Sailors who worked and lived aboard U.S. Navy vessels were at a high risk of exposure to Western MacArthur insulation. The company’s products were widely used there.
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Asbestos Product Types

When Western merged with MacArthur, the resulting company was focused on products made with asbestos. All of the company’s products contained asbestos in one form or another. Those include the following:

  • Insulation (pipe and wall)
  • Fire blankets
  • Duct tapes
  • Adhesives
  • Fireproofing spray
  • Joint compounds
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