Their fire-resistant product line was utilized for lining furnace equipment and boilers. They ceased their prolific utilization of asbestos-based goods by the 1980s, but they did not take action in time to prevent hundreds of thousands of people from falling ill.
Within a few decades, courts across the United States were forcing them to compensate victims and their surviving family members millions of dollars for damages. They ended up facing so many injury claims related to asbestos-related ailments and deaths that they went bankrupt in 2002.
Harmful Products and Health Consequences
Asbestos-based North American Refractories Company products affected many industrial workers, including those who laid and replaced cement, those who worked in engineering and those who worked in the metal/steel industries. NARCO’s products were marketed and sold under Narcocrete, Narcmag, Unicote, and others. These types of asbestos-based products were utilized in lining furnaces to help them withstand extremely high temperatures.
Prior to the 1970s, most refractories utilized asbestos-based materials because they were affordable and virtually fireproof. Many companies knew the risks to workers as early as the 1940s but did not disclose the dangers or provide warnings in an attempt to avoid liability.
By the 1970s, the federal government was aware of the risks to workers who were exposed to any amount of asbestosis-inducing materials such as the ones produced at NARCO and began enforcing safety guidelines, which is why by 1980, North American Refractories Co stopped utilizing the heat-resistant mineral. Unfortunately, no one ever bothered to warn workers of the risks.
The negligence to warn workers left hundreds of thousands of people vulnerable to devastating and deadly diseases such as mesothelioma, which is often not diagnosed for several decades after exposure to asbestos.
Bankruptcy and NARCO Asbestos Trust
Since filing bankruptcy in 2002 and reorganizing in 2008, a trust established through the courts has been set up to pay out North American Refractories Company asbestos-claims. People who worked at worksites where NARCO’s asbestos-based materials were known to cause disease may be eligible for compensation if they have asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma or other illnesses caused by asbestos.
These worksites include Alabama Dry Docks, Alcoa Aluminum Plant, Allied Chemical Corp., ARMCO Steel, Bethlehem Steel, Dupont Chemical Plant, Exxon Oil Refinery, Firestone Tire Plant, General Motors, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant, Gulf Oil Refinery, International Paper, LTV Steel, Mobil Oil Refinery, Phillips 66 Refinery, Reynolds Metals Aluminum Plant, Shell Oil, Union Electric Co, U.S. Steel, and Union Carbide Chemical Plant.1