Gold Bond and National Gypsum Company began making building materials in the 1920s and used asbestos in them for decades. Many people who worked with this brand of gypsum wallboard later became sick, and the company faced thousands of lawsuits as a result.
About Gold Bond and National Gypsum
Today, National Gypsum is the second largest gypsum board producer in the United States. The company is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and sells products under the Gold Bond brand name.
National Gypsum survived bankruptcy protection and has since acquired other smaller companies. National Gypsum now operates three main brands of products: Gold Bond gypsum board, PermaBase cement board, and ProForm drywall finishing products.
In 1925, Joseph F. Haggerty, Clarence E. Williams, and Melvin H. Baker formed National Gypsum to manufacture and sell an innovative wallboard product. The wallboard was advertised as lighter than the competition and was branded with the Gold Bond guarantee.
Each shipment of wallboard went out with a $5,000 “Gold Bond” promise. The “Gold Bond” promise guaranteed the company would pay customers if they could find a better gypsum wallboard product. The Gold Bond name eventually became a registered trademark.
Over time, National Gypsum became one of the biggest producers of construction wallboard. The company expanded its product line into acoustic tiles, rock wool, plaster, adhesives, siding, plastic panels, stucco, texture paint, cement, and fireproof products. Many of these products contained asbestos.
In 1990, the company filed bankruptcy due to asbestos litigation brought by victims of asbestos exposure. In 1993, the company emerged from bankruptcy as the self-described new National Gypsum Company, continuing to sell the Gold Bond product lineup.
Use of Asbestos
National Gypsum products contained asbestos up until the 1970s; however, it was the flagship brand, Gold Bond, which used the most asbestos, potentially causing the most harm.
Gypsum is a natural mineral that continues to be used as the main component in Gold Bond and other brands of wallboard. Gypsum itself is harmless; however, for many years, Gold Bond wallboard also contained some percentage of asbestos.
Before its dangers were fully understood, asbestos was commonly used in construction materials to add strength, insulation, and fireproofing.
Nearly every Gold Bond product once contained some amount of asbestos. This includes plasters, siding, cement board, textured paint, fire-shield plaster, plasticrylic panels, and joint compounds. Brands the company made with asbestos include:
- E-Z Soak
The use of asbestos in Gold Bond products put people at risk for serious health problems, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and a lung condition called asbestosis.
Workers who handled or worked around these products risked inhaling or ingesting tiny asbestos fibers that can become airborne. Once inhaled or ingested, these tiny fibers lodge in body tissues, causing damage over many years. Some people get sick as a result of this exposure. Others do not.
Construction workers faced some of the greatest risks from these products. Those who used Gold Bond materials, especially wallboard, often had to cut or break the product during their work. This would cause the tiny asbestos fibers to break loose and become airborne.
Workers who sanded the board were at particular risk, creating harmful dust on the job site, putting other construction workers at risk as well as themselves; additionally, these workers often brought home asbestos fibers on their clothing, exposing their loved ones as a result.
Beginning in the 1970s, many victims sued National Gypsum over its Gold Bond products. Some lawsuits did not even involve personal injury.
In 1985, Mercer University sued National Gypsum and similar companies for selling the school asbestos-containing materials. These materials later had to be replaced, resulting in a major expense for the school. Mercer University was awarded more than $100,000 from Gold Bond alone to cover construction costs.
Another case against multiple defendants including National Gypsum was filed by a pipefitter’s widow. This early, precedent-setting lawsuit, claimed the pipefitter had been exposed to asbestos on the job through various products.
The court decided the plaintiff’s memory of seeing a brand name, such as Gold Bond, on the job was enough to include that company into the suit as a defendant.
Asbestos Trust Fund
Because of the expense of these and other lawsuits, National Gypsum filed for bankruptcy protection in 1990. The company did not emerge from bankruptcy until three years later.
National Gypsum filed for bankruptcy again in 2002. The company reorganized in 2003 and funded an asbestos trust fund to compensate victims.
The National Gypsum Company Bodily Injury Trust, founded with $347 million, is now a source of settlement money for those who were affected by Gold Bond and asbestos.
Gold Bond products are still in use today, but their products have not contained asbestos since the 1970s. In the past, Gold Bond materials caused great harm to many who worked with and around these products. Thanks to a trust fund, those victims can now be justly compensated.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.