6 Min Read
Last Updated: 05/31/2024
Fact Checked

Written by Michelle Whitmer | Scientifically Reviewed By Sean Fitzgerald, PG | Edited By Walter Pacheco

Fact Checked
Quick Facts About Bondex International
  • wavy circle icon with check mark inside
  • calendar icon
    Years Operated:
    1959 - present (operates as a subsidiary of RPM Inc.)
  • gray building icon
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • businessman icon standing next to a globe
    Manufacturing of building materials
  • icon of a building with a dollar sign on it
    Asbestos Trust:
    Yes (established in 2016)
  • downward arrow with blocks representing cash
    Bankruptcy Status:
    Filed in 2010

Bondex International’s History With Asbestos

Joint compound with asbestos in it.
Joint compound such as the one pictured here once contained asbestos.

Bondex manufactured a range of asbestos-containing products between 1961 and 1977. The brand started in 1959, making products such as joint compounds, roofing cement and paints for the construction industry and home building and repair projects. 

Asbestos was a favored material because of its strength, durability and resistance to heat. These characteristics were useful in building materials to prevent fires and other accidents. The Bondex brand started small but soon became popular with homeowners and contractors. 

The success of the Bondex brand garnered notice by other names in the industry. Republic Powdered Metals (RPM Inc.), known for manufacturing protective coatings, purchased Reardon Company, the parent company of Bondex, in 1966. RPM Inc. continued to acquire other companies that used asbestos, such as DAP Products Inc. and Rust-Oleum Corporation. 

Lawsuits citing asbestos exposure claims against Bondex began in the 1980s and continued until the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Decades of using asbestos in its products put Bondex workers and consumers in danger of exposure, resulting in tens of thousands of claims. 

Bondex International Asbestos Trust Fund

RPM Inc. established the Bondex Trust in 2016 after thousands of asbestos claims made it impossible for the company to keep up with its financial liabilities. Until 2003, the claims were scarce and the amounts were low enough that RPM Inc. managed to cover most through its insurance policy. 

When this resource was exhausted, the company continued to face increasing costs for asbestos claims, and eventually, it could not handle the financial burden of the thousands of lawsuits. Following suit with many other companies that used asbestos, RPM Inc. decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, establishing the trust in 2016 as part of its reorganization plan.

The purpose of the trust is to provide compensation to current and future claimants who developed asbestos-related diseases from exposure to Bondex products. With the creation of the trust, RPM Inc. was no longer liable for asbestos claims. 

The Settlors hereby create a trust known as the ‘Specialty Products Holding Corp., Bondex International, Inc., Republic Powdered Metals, Inc. and NIMBFiL, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust,’ which is the Asbestos Trust provided for and referred to in the plan.

The Bondex asbestos trust fund initially had $797.5 million in funds. As with all asbestos trust funds, payments to claimants have a cap at a certain percentage to ensure adequate funds remain for future patients who develop mesothelioma cancer and other diseases from exposure to asbestos fibers through their employment with Bondex International. The current payment percentage for the Bondex Trust is 29.5%. 

Claimants can choose between expedited review or individual review. Those who opt for expedited review typically receive the standard percentage payout. Individual claims take longer to review but may result in a higher payout. Claimants can file online or submit a paper claim with documentation of their diagnosis and exposure history. 

Bondex International Jobs at Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Numerous occupations in asbestos products manufacturing, mining and abatement put workers in danger of asbestos exposure. People who worked in jobs that handled raw asbestos materials to create Bondex products were at risk. Others who worked in occupations that used the finished materials were also at risk. Although many companies like Bondex were aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure, they did not inform their workers or take necessary safety precautions to protect them.

High-Risk Occupations
  • Automotive Mechanics
  • Boiler Makers and Workers
  • Construction workers
  • Insulators
  • Laggers
  • Miners
  • Pipefitters
  • Plumbers
  • Railroad workers
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Truck drivers
  • Welders

Occupational asbestos exposure is the most frequent cause of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. However, close family members of workers dealing with Bondex products were also in danger of developing an illness from secondary exposure. 

Workers brought asbestos fibers home on their clothing, skin and hair. Family members became exposed through normal chores such as handling and laundering contaminated clothing or sharing a hug with a loved one covered in asbestos fibers. 

Bondex International Products That Contained Asbestos

Bondex manufactured asbestos-containing products for home DIY projects and contractors through the 1970s. The brand produced popular products from surface preparation and wallpapering to masonry.

Asbestos-Containing Bondex Products
  • All-purpose patcher
  • Interior finish
  • Joint cement
  • Joint compound
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Roofing cement
  • Sealants
  • Texture paint
  • Wood putty

The range of products manufactured for building projects of all sizes were favorites among professionals and homeowners. The prevalence of these products placed many workers, DIY homeowners and their families at risk of asbestos exposure. Despite knowing the harm asbestos causes, Bondex opted to continue using the material. 

In 1977 and 1978, new regulations banned asbestos-containing wall patching compounds and spray-applied surfacing materials from the U.S. market. Bondex requested an extension for its recalled products, claiming the action would cause serious financial problems. 

Bondex International Notable Lawsuits 

Most of the asbestos lawsuits filed against RPM Inc. cite Reardon Company’s Bondex products as the cause of exposure. The company paid a total of $1.6 million from 1980 through 1999, but the number of lawsuits began significantly increasing in 2000. From this time until its 2010 bankruptcy proceedings stopped its asbestos liabilities, RPM Inc. paid out millions in damages.

Asbestos Litigation
  • $15.25 million: Judgment awarded in 2006 by a California jury to the surviving family of a construction worker who died of mesothelioma.
  • $4.5 million: Total damages awarded in the 2010 wrongful death suit of Robert Wagner against several companies, including Bondex. Wagner was a carpenter who died of pleural mesothelioma from using Bondex’s asbestos-containing joint compound.
  • $2.9 million: Judgment awarded to Dr. Saeed Behshid against Bondex Inc. in a 2008 lawsuit. Behshid used Bondex’s asbestos-containing joint compound for home remodeling projects.

The Bondex asbestos trust continues to pay claims for those who received a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease because of exposure to Bondex products. Claimants can seek compensation through an experienced asbestos attorney who specializes in asbestos trust fund claims. An asbestos lawyer can help you gather the necessary documentation to secure compensation to pay for medical expenses and other damages.

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