A.P. Green Industries
A.P. Green Industries is a manufacturing company that makes refractory products, materials designed to be used in environments that exceed temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The company started out small with a factory making fire-resistant bricks for glass and metal factories in Mexico, Missouri. These bricks and other refractory products used asbestos to help resist heat and fire.
In 2002, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganized after receiving thousands of lawsuits over asbestos exposure and resulting illnesses, like mesothelioma and lung cancer, in workers. A.P. Green was required to start an asbestos trust fund as part of the bankruptcy agreement, which was created in 2009 and began accepting claims in 2014.
A.P. Green Industries was founded by Allen Percival Green in Mexico, Missouri in 1910. He began the business as a small brick manufacturing facility, making fireproof bricks that could be used in factories that used high temperatures to make glass or cement or to refine steel and other metals. Green’s business was a big success and doubled in volume in just the first few years of operation. He then expanded the brick-making business to include a variety of refractory products, those building materials that can withstand high heats of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
The company continued to be successful for many decades, and in 1967 it was acquired by U.S. Gypsum Company. In 1998 A.P. Green merged with another refractory products manufacturer called Global Industrial Technologies. Because the two companies made similar products and together commanded such a big share of the market, the merger raised a red flag for the Federal Trade Commission. Because of the concern that they were violating antitrust laws, the merged companies agreed to sell off a division to RHI Refractories America.
In 2002, A.P. Green, North American Refractories Company, 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 formed, A.P. Green was forced to file bankruptcy and to reorganize due to the high volume of asbestos lawsuits filed against the company.
Asbestos Use at A.P. Green
Asbestos has long been prized for its ability to insulate against heat, to resist fire, and to add strength to materials. These are all qualities that made it the perfect match for the manufacturing of fireproof bricks and other refractory materials. With asbestos, these products could be used in facilities that reached extremely high temperatures without breaking, while also protecting against heat loss and fire. Unfortunately, it was only after asbestos was used for decades in refractory products that the health risks of asbestos were finally realized.
From the 1940s through the 1970s, A.P. Green used asbestos in a number of its products. These include insulating cement and other types of cement, insulation coating, insulation adhesive, castable block mix, chrome plastic, and Mizzou GR, a product used in boilers, furnaces, and ovens. The company also used asbestos in a product called Kast-O-Lite. This refractory clay and cement material was used as a cement and gunning in boilers and furnaces. Several other A.P. Green asbestos products include Greencast, Steelkon, Lo Abrade GR, and Therm-O-Flake Coating.
Workers Exposed to Asbestos
Anyone who worked in A.P. Green facilities during the years that the company used asbestos to make its products was likely to have been exposed to asbestos. The fibers in the factory could easily get into the air where workers breathed it in and may have also settled on surfaces and on clothing. Workers may have brought asbestos fibers home on their clothes and exposed their family members to the harmful mineral as well. Breathing in these fibers caused asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer in many workers.
Those workers who spent longer 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. Other people who may have been put at risk because of A.P. Green’s asbestos products are those people who lived near the manufacturing facilities and workers in other industries that used the products. This could include the workers that installed and maintained the refractory products in other factories.
The high level of asbestos exposure that occurred because of the kinds of products A.P. Green made led to thousands of lawsuits over the exposure and resulting illnesses. It takes many years in most cases, for exposure to asbestos to manifest in an illness. Because of this, the company did not start seeing lawsuits in any great numbers until the 1990s. Between the mid-90s and about 2007, the company was the subject of hundreds of thousands of asbestos lawsuits and claims for compensation. Eventually, A.P. Green struggled to pay out all of the settlements and was forced to file for bankruptcy and reorganization with an asbestos trust fund started to help pay victims.
A.P. Green Asbestos Trust Fund
In order to receive Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, A.P. Green was required to create an asbestos trust fund. RHI Refractories, the parent company at the time of the bankruptcy, claimed that economic recession was the driving force in the bankruptcy filing and reorganization, but the asbestos claims were numerous and expensive and clearly played a role in the need to reorganize.
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 the 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.
If you were affected by A.P. Green or any of its parent companies or subsidiaries because of asbestos exposure, you can now file claims through the trust funds. The process can be confusing and may require that you prove you were exposed because of A.P. Green products, that you have an illness directly related to that exposure, and that 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.
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