Foseco is a foundry business and part of the larger company Vesuvius, making metal castings and many products for metal foundries, which at one time contained asbestos. Workers who made or worked with Foseco products may have been exposed to asbestos. Some of those developed illnesses like mesothelioma and lung cancer and sued the company.
Foseco, short for Foundry Service Company, was founded in 1932 by Eric Weiss to serve the growing foundry industry. In the beginning, the company was small, operating out of a single room; however, it quickly expanded, offering new products and acquiring other companies.
In 1916, at the height of the American steel boom, Vesuvius began operating in Pittsburgh. The company made crucibles for foundries. Cookson Group bought Foseco in 2008, which is when it became a subsidiary of Vesuvius.
Foseco and Vesuvius, like similar manufacturing companies, used asbestos in many of their products, but unlike other companies, Foseco never filed for bankruptcy protection in spite of numerous asbestos-related lawsuits.
Asbestos Use by Foseco
Foundry work involves heating and manipulating metals and other substances, then casting those substances to make products. The industry uses extreme temperatures, requiring materials that can insulate and protect against fire. It also requires materials that will not break or deteriorate under intense heat.
These extreme conditions make asbestos a natural choice for the industry. Asbestos is a natural material with a variety of useful characteristics. It is abundant, inexpensive, and resists high temperatures. Asbestos also resists fire, chemical reactions, corrosion, and electricity.
It is strong and can be added to materials to make them more durable. Most of these properties made asbestos an ideal ingredient in Foseco’s foundry products.
Foseco patented a product that it manufactured, called a hot top. A hot top was a piece of metal used to help maintain the temperature of molten steel. It was also useful for capturing steel impurities as the metal cooled and solidified. Hot tops needed to withstand extreme heat, so Foseco crafted them with embedded asbestos.
In addition to hot tops, Foseco made several other products with asbestos:
- Die castings
- Heat bricks
- Molding sand
- Furnace linings
- Permanent mold coatings
- Asbestos boards
- Exothermic riser sleeves
- Ladle liners
Foseco used several factories to manufacture the products with asbestos, including one in Cleveland, where company headquarters were eventually located.
The patent for one of Foseco’s products, the hot top insulation, described nearly 5% each of amosite and chrysotile asbestos, much more than the acceptable limit eventually set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Because asbestos was used in such abundance, Foseco’s factory workers were regularly put at risk of exposure and resulting sickness. Factory workers mixed asbestos into materials, risking inhaling the created asbestos dust.
Inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers leads to tissue damage in the lungs and other parts of the body, ultimately causing asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Foundry workers who used Foseco products were also put at serious risk of exposure and illness. Workers commonly experienced asbestos exposure through Foseco’s hot tops. These plates, used in steel foundries, often had to be replaced.
Studies have confirmed that metal manufacturing and foundry workers have higher rates of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths.
Asbestos Lawsuits against Foseco
Foseco has been the defendant in numerous lawsuits over asbestos exposure and illness. The evidence of the potential harm of asbestos in the foundry industry has been important in lawsuits.
Despite the thousands of asbestos lawsuits Foseco faced, the company managed to survive without needing bankruptcy protection.
Foseco also did not have to establish an asbestos trust fund to compensate victims and cover future claims. Anyone with a claim against the company must take legal action to seek compensation.
Foseco’s failure to protect workers left it vulnerable to litigation from those impacted by asbestos exposure. If you are sick because of asbestos exposure and believe your exposure originated with Foseco products, you can file a lawsuit to seek damages and justice. Let an experienced mesothelioma lawyer help you make your case and get the compensation you deserve.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.