A.P. Green Industries made refractory products with asbestos until the 1970s. In 2002, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to thousands of lawsuits over asbestos exposure and resulting illnesses like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Exposure victims can now seek compensation through the APG Asbestos Trust.
A History of A.P. Green and Asbestos Use
Allen Percival Green founded A.P. Green Industries in Mexico, Missouri, in 1910. The business began as a small brick manufacturer, making fireproof bricks for use in high-temperature factories. It made glass, cement, refining steel, and other metals.
- Green’s business doubled in volume in just the first few years of operation. He expanded the brick-making business to include a variety of refractory products (building materials that can withstand temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more).
- Asbestos was an ideal material for refractory products. It resists heat and can withstand very high temperatures. It also protects against fire. Many A.P. Green products were made with asbestos for decades.
- The company continued its success for many decades. In 1967 A.P. Green was acquired by U.S. Gypsum Company. In 1998 A.P. Green merged with Global Industrial Technologies, another manufacturer of refractory products.
- Because the two companies made similar products and commanded such a big share of the market, the merger raised a red flag for the Federal Trade Commission over a concern that they were violating antitrust laws. The merged companies then agreed to sell off a division to RHI Refractories America.
- In 2002, A.P. Green, North American Refractories Company (NARCO), and Harbison-Walker, all subsidiaries of the merged company, left RHI Refractories American and formed a new company called ANH Refractories Company.
A.P. Green no longer exists as an independent company but is a part of ANH and still manufactures refractory products. At the same time that the new company was formed, A.P. Green was forced to file bankruptcy and reorganize due to the high volume of asbestos lawsuits filed against the company.
How Did A.P. Green Use Asbestos?
Asbestos has historically been valued for its ability to insulate against heat, resist fire, and strengthen materials. These are qualities that made asbestos perfect for manufacturing fireproof bricks and other refractory materials.
Using asbestos, these products could be used in facilities reaching extremely high temperatures, allowing them to resist breaking while simultaneously protecting against heat loss and fire. Unfortunately, asbestos was used for decades in refractory products before experts finally uncovered the health risks of asbestos.
From the 1940s through the 1970s, A.P. Green used asbestos in many of its products. These products included:
- Insulating cement
- Insulation coating
- Insulation adhesive
- Castable block mix
- Chrome plastic
- Mizzou GR
- Kast-O-Lite refractory clay
Several other A.P. Green asbestos product brands include Greencast, Steelkon, Lo Abrade GR, and Therm-O-Flake Coating.
A.P. Green stopped using asbestos in all products but one (Green PC) by 1973. By 1976, A.P. Green no longer used asbestos in any products.
How Were Workers Exposed to Asbestos by A.P. Green?
Anyone who worked in A.P. Green facilities during the years the company used asbestos was likely exposed to asbestos to some degree. The fibers could potentially contaminate the air in the factory, allowing workers to inhale them.
Asbestos fibers could also settle on surfaces and workers’ clothing. Once the fibers settled on clothing, workers could have also exposed their family members to the harmful substance. Breathing these fibers caused asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer in some employees.
Workers who spent more time in A.P. Green facilities were at the greatest risk of getting sick. Many workers spent years or entire careers handling and working with the asbestos that went into the products.
People who worked in asbestos factories like those operated by A.P. Green had some of the highest risks of exposure because they were around or handled the materials daily.
Other people who may have been put at risk because of A.P. Green’s asbestos products include those who lived near the manufacturing facilities and workers in other industries who used the products.
Workers who installed and maintained A.P. Green refractory products in other factories could also have been exposed. This included workers in high-heat industries, like steel mills, power generation, oil refineries, and glass manufacturing.
Also at risk of exposure were family members of A.P. Green plant workers. Before they were aware of the risks, workers often brought asbestos fibers home on their clothing. Family members experienced secondhand exposure that could cause illnesses later.
A.P. Green Asbestos Litigation
The high level of asbestos exposure caused by products made by A.P. Green led to thousands of lawsuits over exposure and resulting illnesses. In some cases, it could take years for exposure to manifest as an illness.
Because of the long latency period for asbestos illnesses, the company did not experience lawsuits in great numbers until the 1990s. Between the mid-1990s to about 2007, the company was the subject of hundreds of thousands of asbestos lawsuits and claims for compensation.
One lawsuit resulted in $40 million awarded to five asbestos exposure victims. The lawsuit implicated Harbison-Walker, A.P. Green, and Armstrong Contracting and Supply (ACandS). One of the plaintiffs was a victim of secondhand exposure. She came into contact with asbestos while washing her father’s contaminated work clothes.
Eventually, A.P. Green struggled to pay out the settlements and was forced to file for bankruptcy. The company was also forced to reorganize with an asbestos trust fund to help pay victims.
A.P. Green Asbestos Trust Fund
A.P. Green filed for bankruptcy in 2003. To receive Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the courts required A.P. Green to create an asbestos trust fund. The A.P. Green trust was created in 2013.
RHI Refractories, the parent company at the time of the bankruptcy, claimed that economic recession was the driving force in bankruptcy filing and reorganization. Still, the asbestos claims were numerous and expensive and clearly played a role in reorganizing.
Although bankruptcy proceedings began in 2002, the APG Asbestos Trust was not founded until 2013 and did not begin accepting claims until 2014.
Prior to that, asbestos claims were supposed to be covered under the United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, which started accepting claims in 2007. To date, the trusts together have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to victims.
How to Seek Compensation After Asbestos Exposure from A.P. Green
Because it went bankrupt, victims of past asbestos exposure and resulting illness cannot sue A.P. Green. However, you can file claims through the trust funds if you were affected by A.P. Green, any parent companies, or subsidiaries.
The process is potentially confusing, often requiring you to prove exposure to A.P. Green products, that you have an illness directly related to that exposure, and you have serious and life-changing symptoms. Having an asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer on your side to guide you can help make the process easier.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Mary Ellen Ellis
Mary Ellen Ellis has been the head writer for Mesothelioma.net since 2016. With hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos articles to her credit, she is one of the most experienced writers on these topics. Her degrees and background in science and education help her explain complicated medical topics for a wider audience. Mary Ellen takes pride in providing her readers with the critical information they need following a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
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.