The company was issued contracts for repairing Navy ships, which were also made with asbestos-containing materials during the 1940s. Since the war, the company has made asbestos-containing products that serve the shipbuilding, automotive, and structuring industries. Lincoln was infamously known for producing a welding rod that contained a high percentage of asbestos until 1981.
Harmful Products and Health Consequences
Lincoln’s employment policy for many decades included a clause that stated that workers would be guaranteed to have a job and not be laid off. This policy meant that the majority of people who worked for Lincoln Electric severed the company until they retired.
Unfortunately, many people who worked there long-term ended up with potentially deadly diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma due to asbestos. Working around these asbestos-containing products on a daily basis caused toxic fibers and dust to settle into their lungs, which over time does damage that can lead to disability or death.
Lincoln Electric began facing thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestosis claims in the 2000s. Although the company successfully defended a number of these claims, other plaintiffs received large judgments in their favor. Most of these lawsuits revolved around exposure from Lincoln’s welding rod, a product that was up to 15 percent asbestos-based. The company has paid millions of dollars to former employees who were injured by these welding rods, which were used for many years after the federal health department issued warnings about the risks of exposure.
The successful plaintiffs had developed mesothelioma and lung cancer from doing their jobs and had not been warned of the dangers.
A New Product
The company is still in business today but has not used asbestos-based products since the 1980s. Still, it is probable that those who worked at the company and contractors who worked with Lincoln products continuously came into contact with asbestosis-inducing products that have already been distributed and used in ships, cars, and structural engineering industrial projects. It can take many years for asbestos-related disease to develop.