The company has been involved in manufacturing, producing, and distributing a myriad of consumer products over the years. GE has also produced parts for equipment used by many industries ranging from aviation to healthcare.
For example, GE parts and products are used in military aircraft engines, medical imaging and ultrasound equipment, passenger locomotives, mining equipment, circuit breakers, and gas turbines for utility companies. Because of the prevalence of GE products, it’s difficult to go anywhere without finding something that was made by GE.
Like many companies that have been in business for as long as GE, General Electric used asbestos in many of its products over the years. The company has faced more than 400,000 asbestos-related claims and will likely face many more. Most employees were exposed between the years 1966 and 1986, but the toxic parts GE used continued to exist in the products that had already been distributed.
GE produced a large amount of asbestos-containing steam turbines, which were installed at more than 20,000 locations across the U.S. The company also used asbestos-containing cables, cords, wires, insulation, and power-generating equipment under the brand names Deltabeston and Wil-Son Patent-Flex for many years.
Energy production workers, distribution plant workers, and manufacturing facility workers were all at risk for coming into contact with asbestos-containing products during the ordinary course of their jobs. People whose jobs involved working at power plants, performing electrical work, repairing or assembling appliances, doing installation and demolition, or other work that put them in contact with GE parts or products could also have suffered asbestosis and other illness from exposure.
The Future of General Electric
General Electric has faced multiple mesothelioma lawsuits from former employees and their surviving family members. In some cases, the wives of GE workers have also died of the illness from secondhand exposure. GE will likely face more lawsuits as more former employees and their families are diagnosed. Once asbestos-containing material is inhaled through the lungs, the dust fibers remain in the body to damage the lungs slowly over time.