The Synkoloid Company originally manufactured paint, coatings, asphalt, and other construction products. For several decades, Synkoloid used asbestos, which ultimately resulted in thousands of lawsuits. The parent company set up a trust fund for those exposed to asbestos from Synkoloid products and developed lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis.
In 1894, the Synkoloid Company was founded on Staten Island in New York City. Although the company had humble beginnings, its introduction of Spackle in 1928 launched the company to success.
While Spackle is now a well-known household product, it was a revolutionary product that no other company offered when it was first introduced. The original Spackle was a basic powder. Once the consumer added liquid, it made a useful paste.
As Synkoloid expanded, it offered many new products for construction industries. These products included waterproof paints, interior and exterior paints, and latex emulsions, all introduced in the 1950s.
Between 1949 and 1976, many Synkoloid products were made with asbestos. Ultimately, this asbestos caused serious problems for the company.
In 1975, Artra Group acquired Synkoloid. At the time, the dangers of asbestos were already known. The company began to see lawsuits over its asbestos use as early as 1962.
Artra Group agreed to take on responsibility for ongoing asbestos litigation over Synkoloid products. As the millennium ended, Artra Group was battling nearly 50,000 cases.
In 1981, the Synkoloid brand was bought by Muralo Company, Inc. However, Muralo Company did not acquire liability for Synkoloid’s asbestos use. That remained with Artra Group. As a result, Artra eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2002.
Because of the bankruptcy, liability passed to Muralo, causing this company to also seek bankruptcy protection. Both companies emerged reorganized by 2007 with a joint asbestos trust to compensate future victims.
Asbestos was a valuable material in a range of industrial applications, including construction materials. For more than two decades, Synkoloid used asbestos in many of its construction products.
This natural mineral was useful because it could insulate efficiently, resist electricity, and add strength and durability to materials. Asbestos also resisted heat and fire and could be molded into a variety of useful shapes.
Although many industries used asbestos during its heyday, the construction industry used it extensively. The natural properties of asbestos made it a helpful ingredient in materials used for roofing, walls, flooring, and other elements. Synkoloid manufactured many products that contained asbestos, including:
- Triple Duty joint compound
- Flexi patch
These products included joint compound, surface conditioners, roof paints, cements, stucco, and others used regularly in construction.
Many people were affected by the asbestos used by Synkoloid; however, those who worked in construction were most affected, especially painters, roofers, drywall installers, carpenters, and those specializing in home renovation.
Asbestos is harmful when it is damaged, disturbed, exposed, or left to deteriorate over time. When this happens, small asbestos fibers can become airborne, where workers or others can easily inhale them in the area. Construction workers handling these products often sanded, drilled, and cut materials that contained asbestos, leading to exposure risks.
In addition to the many construction workers affected by Synkoloid asbestos products, company employees were also put at risk during the manufacturing process.
When microscopic asbestos fibers enter the lungs, the fibers stick in tissues like tiny needles, causing tissue damage over time. As a result, some people later develop diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Lawsuits and Bankruptcy
Because so many people became sick due to the asbestos used by Synkoloid, the company and its parent companies faced lawsuits over liability for failing to warn workers of associated risks. These lawsuits eventually numbered in the thousands, costing the companies a lot of money.
As one example, a former self-employed contractor successfully sued the company for $2 million. John Henry Pace worked with Synkoloid’s joint compound for decades, eventually developing asbestosis.
Although the company received warnings in 1969 regarding the dangers of asbestos in its joint compound, Synkoloid continued to make it without warning consumers or workers until 1976.
Synkoloid, Artra Group, and Muralo all faced lawsuits and legal action against their insurance companies. This led to bankruptcy filings by both Artra and Muralo, both of whom reorganized in 2007.
These companies also established a joint asbestos trust to help compensate asbestos victims. The trust is called the ARTRA Asbestos Trust. Legal action did not stop after the trust was formed. In 2011, the trust sued an insurance company for failing to provide adequate compensation for the fund.
Synkoloid products were used by many companies and remain in many homes and businesses. People exposed to asbestos through these products are seeking justice. The ARTRA trust is now the primary avenue for compensation. If you believe Synkoloid played a role in your asbestos-related illness, contact a mesothelioma lawyer to help you make a claim.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.