Crown Cork and Asbestos
An interesting company that continues to be liable for asbestos exposure is Crown Cork and Seal, which is now known as Crown Holdings, Inc. (Crown). Founded in 1892 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Crown never actually manufactured a product that contained asbestos. Rather, the acquisition of another company in the 1960s exposed Crown to the risk of potential lawsuits for asbestos-related issues that remain today.
Crown has never filed for bankruptcy and, as a result, does not have an asbestos trust fund. Today, the company is the largest metal packaging company in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Crown is involved in numerous markets, including packaging for drinks, foods, health and beauty items, and household and industrial products.
Crown’s liability in relation to products that contained asbestos came about after it acquired the New York-based Mundet Cork Company (Mundet) in 1963. Mundet manufactured cork-lined bottle caps, which was what attracted Crown to purchase the company. But, Mundet also made insulation products and cement, both of which contained significant amounts of asbestos. While Crown sold off all but the bottle-cap division, the company still remains liable for the exposure to asbestos that Mundet was responsible for.
Crown Cork and Asbestos: Who is at Risk?
There were numerous people placed at risk due to products created by Mundet. These included employees of the Mundet insulation and cement division and customers who used Mundet products, which included several oil refineries and the U.S. Navy. The largest use of Mundet products was commercial, which placed repairers and installers at increased risk.
Insulation workers were at particular risk because they used Mundet products for insulating pipes, walls, and boilers in order to keep those products from overheating and becoming susceptible to fire. Frequently, insulators worked in confined spaces, which increased the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. Chrysotile asbestos was used in the insulation of pipes because it became strong and cohesive when used along with magnesium.
Family members of workers who dealt with products that contained asbestos were also placed at risk. This is because asbestos dust, which contains dangerous, microscopic fibers, remains on clothing and hair. When a person who came into contact with asbestos dust returned home from work, it was possible that asbestos fibers could be released into the air, which family members may have then breathed in. This was a particular risk for family members responsible for cleaning the clothes of workers exposed to asbestos.
Some of the products that Mundet created that contained asbestos included:
- Mineral wool finishing cement;
- Mineral wool insulating cement;
- Cork 85 percent magnesia asbestos insulation;
- Block insulation; and
- Pipe covering.
Compassionate Legal Advocacy
Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious health consequences such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. If you believe you may have developed a disease related to asbestos exposure, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the difficulty of dealing with asbestos-related diseases. We look forward to discussing how we can help you.