The company has produced iron, steel, and aluminum broilers and HVAC products for industrial, commercial, and residential use. Their products have been sold under the brand names Crown, Thermo Products, and U.S. Boiler.
Harmful Products and Health Consequences
Burnham Holdings products are used in boiler rooms in apartment complexes, schools, hospitals and other corporate and industrial settings. Like many in the boilermaker industry, the Burnham corporation used asbestos-filled insulation for piping, gaskets, fireproof bricks, and other heat-resistant parts commonly used throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
As with many companies that formerly used asbestos-containing products, Burnham employees who worked in the plants, repairmen, and people who worked in settings containing these boilers and air conditioning systems were not warned of the dangers of asbestosis. These workers came into daily contact with carcinogens that are now liked to lung cancer, mesotheliomas, and other deadly pulmonary problems.
Inhaling the fibers from insulation, pipe coating, gaskets and other materials is now known to cause deadly illness, which is why these materials are no longer allowed to be used.
Burnham has been sued many times due to asbestosis and related diseases. As of 2011, many plaintiffs who were former employees and family members have filed mesothelioma lawsuits. In 2013, a jury in New York awarded nearly $200 million in one asbestos lawsuit. This litigation involved five people who became ill due to asbestos exposure while doing steam-fitting, plumbing, and construction work for the company. Subsequent lawsuits have gone to trial and resulted in various million dollar judgments in 2014 and 2015.
The Future of Burnham Holdings
Because it can take so long for mesothelioma and other asbestosis-related ailments to surface, it can take more than a few decades for some people to experience the types of devastating illnesses that eventually result in lawsuits. Many employers during this time period knew of the risks to employee health but negligently did not inform their workers of the risks.
Thus, many workers who get cancer years later do not automatically have the knowledge to associate their ailments with the type of work they did decades earlier. Some former workers might still have no idea that they were exposed to asbestos-containing products every day just from doing their jobs.