Pacor Incorporated has been manufacturing insulation since 1921, for many years using asbestos as a component. Pacor primarily produced products for industrial customers and the United States military, especially during World War II. After numerous lawsuits over exposure and illness in workers and veterans, Pacor filed for bankruptcy protection in 1986.
Pacor History and Asbestos
Pacor was founded in 1921 as the Philadelphia Asbestos Corporation. Headquarters were originally located in Philadelphia but eventually moved to Cinnaminson, New Jersey.
- From the beginning, the company offered a variety of asbestos insulation products, including pipe insulation and asbestos pads. Over several decades, the company expanded, eventually selling insulation to more than 100 companies across the country.
- Pacor chose to focus on industrial and military customers rather than residential and home insulation products. During World War II, Pacor was a major supplier of Navy shipyards and Navy ships. The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was a major recipient of Pacor’s asbestos products.
- Philadelphia Asbestos Corporation eventually became Pacor, but not before causing significant damage with its asbestos insulation products. The company also encountered trouble when it partnered with and distributed Johns Manville asbestos construction materials.
- Eventually, the harm caused by both companies resulted in lawsuits in which both shared liability, bankruptcy, and the creation of a trust to cover claims over both companies’ products.
Today Pacor Inc. is a successful company that provides innovative insulation solutions to a variety of industries. Pacor manufactures traditional insulation from materials like fiberglass but also produces high-tech aerogel insulation.
Pacor operates three manufacturing facilities located in North Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey. The many industries Pacor serves include locomotive and commuter rail, industrial heating, HVAC, food service, and acoustic.
The company also makes a unique product called RapidWrap, which covers thermal insulation and is removable and reusable.
How Did Pacor Use Asbestos?
Many companies used asbestos to make insulation from the early 20th century through the 1970s. Industries used the mineral because it was abundant, inexpensive, and excellent at insulating.
It was also strong, durable, and could be easily molded into a variety of shapes. Although asbestos seemed perfect for insulation, it also damaged human health.
Pacor Asbestos Products
Pacor manufactured asbestos insulation and distributed it mostly to industrial, construction, and manufacturing companies. It also sold asbestos insulation to the U.S. Navy.
Pacor asbestos products included:
- Pipe insulation
- Asbestos cloth
- Johns Manville asbestos products
Johns Manville was one of the largest manufacturers of asbestos construction materials. Its products included roofing materials, adhesives, insulation, asbestos textiles, wallboard, cement board, and more.
Workers at Risk of Asbestos Exposure From Pacor Products
Wherever asbestos is used, exposure is possible. Asbestos exposure occurs when its microscopic fibers are inhaled or ingested. Once this happens, the fibers become lodged in the body and cause damage over time.
For some, this damage will cause cancer, including lung cancer or mesothelioma. For others, it will cause progressive and eventually fatal scarring in the lungs called asbestosis. People can be exposed whenever asbestos is disturbed, causing fibers to come loose and enter the air.
Because Pacor used asbestos in its insulation, many people were put at risk of exposure. Pacor factory workers were at risk because they were present in the facility during insulation manufacturing.
Workers in other industries often used Pacor products and were also put at risk. Those potentially affected included:
- Construction workers
- Industrial factory workers
- Insulation installers
- Maintenance and repair workers
- Shipyard workers
- Oil refinery workers
- HVAC workers
- Boiler workers
Those who served in the United States Navy were also put at risk of asbestos exposure. Today Navy veterans have some of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the country.
This is due to the amount of asbestos used to construct naval vessels. Together with Johns Manville, Pacor provided much of the asbestos materials that went into Navy ships. It mostly supplied the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
Asbestos Lawsuits Against Pacor
Beginning in the 1970s, lawsuits began against Pacor because of its asbestos products. The number and costs of these lawsuits were enough to force the company to file for bankruptcy protection in 1986.
In 1989, Pacor reorganized and emerged from bankruptcy. Pacor was a company that faced asbestos litigation relatively early.
One case, Higgins v. Pacor, Inc., in 1984, served as a test trial in how third-party suits could be brought against companies seeking bankruptcy protection.
Mr. Higgins sued Pacor over his asbestos illness related to Johns Manville products distributed by Pacor. A judge ruled that his case could not be transferred to Johns Manville bankruptcy proceedings because it was unrelated.
This ruling had an impact on many future cases and established a rule for determining if a claim can be connected to a bankruptcy proceeding.
Another lawsuit brought by James Simmons initially resulted in a jury award of $350,000. Simmons served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1963. He also worked in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 1963 to 1974.
Simmons later developed pleural thickening associated with asbestos that could lead to cancer later. He sued Pacor and others, resulting in the jury award. On appeal, a judge overturned the award, stating that pleural thinking was not compensable.
Asbestos Trust with Johns Manville
As part of bankruptcy protection, Pacor had to provide funding for future claimants living with asbestos illnesses because of the company’s products.
Pacor began bankruptcy proceedings in 1986 and emerged in 1989 with the Pacor Settlement Trust. The trust ultimately became part of Johns Manville’s trust.
Because Pacor worked so closely with Johns Manville, Pacor’s claims go through the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. The trust was created in 1988 and was funded with $2.5 billion. It is still active today and accepting claims for Pacor and Johns Manville.
The payment percentage for the trust is set at 5.1%. The trust put a cap on attorney fees of 25%.
What to Do if You Were Exposed to Pacor Insulation
If you suffered an asbestos-related illness because of Pacor insulation products, you still have time to make a claim for compensation. The Johns Manville trust is active and taking claims from Pacor asbestos victims.
Contact a mesothelioma lawyer for help making a successful claim, which can be complicated. A lawyer can also provide you with a free initial consultation and determine if any other companies are liable for your asbestos exposure.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.