Celotex’s Asbestos History
Celotex was founded in the early 1920s as a fiberboard insulation company. The company grew throughout the 20th century and expanded its product line to include a variety of construction materials such as roofing shingles and siding.
Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral that was added to many Celotex products to make them fireproof. As an asbestos company, Celotex used the mineral because it was an affordable option to ensure their products resisted fire in residential homes and commercial buildings.
A Celotex subsidiary known as Carey Canada Inc. mined and processed asbestos for Celotex products. It operated an asbestos mine just south of Quebec City, Canada. The mine exposed workers to asbestos until it closed down in 1986.
Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust
Celotex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 1990. The company’s reorganization plan was approved in 1996 and included the creation of the Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust. From that point forward, Celotex was relieved of all current and future asbestos-related liability, having transferred it all to the trust.
The trust was formally founded in 1998 and took on asbestos claims for both Celotex and its mining company. The asbestos settlement trust owned 100% of Celotex until its wallboard and ceiling interests were bought by BPB.
Celotex is among 14 major asbestos companies featured in the Global Asbestos Market Research Report 2023, which was published February 2019. The report provides the newest industry data and industry future trends, including forecasts, analysis and discussion of key factors influencing the market.
In May 2021, the trust’s payment percentage was changed to 8%, which is a relatively common value for asbestos trust funds. The payment percentage reduces the payout of a claim’s total value to ensure enough funds remain in the trust to compensate future victims.
In 2003, the Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust paid New York City for property damages of schools and buildings based on more than 400 claims. The trustees attempted to deny payments but were court ordered to make payments exceeding $40 million.
Asbestos Litigation Involving Celotex
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Celotex and its mining subsidiary defended themselves against thousands of asbestos lawsuits and hundreds of property damage lawsuits. By 1998, Celotex had encountered 380,000 asbestos claims with an estimated liability of $200 billion.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy and setting up its trust fund, Celotex fought many claims in court and was found liable for thousands of cases of asbestos-related diseases.
Wife of Insulator Awarded $588,000
Marion George filed one such claim against Celotex, after her husband, Stuart, died from mesothelioma. For 48 years, Stuart worked for an asbestos insulation contractor and distributor, handling almost all of Carey Canada’s products in the warehouse that exposed him to asbestos. In 1989, the jury awarded $588,000 to Stuart’s estate.
Judge Holds Celotex Partially Responsible
Haskel and Mattie McNair also won a case against Celotex, based on exposure to asbestos dust from working with Celotex insulation products. The case included 12 other manufacturers and the judge held Celotex responsible for 30% of the total damage amount of $125,000.
Celotex’s Asbestos Products and Workers at Risk
Asbestos could be found in Celotex products such as:
- Careystone Roofing, Siding, Sheathing and Baffles
- Careystone Corrugated Sheets
- Carey Firefoil Board and Panel
- Carey Cenesto Board
- Carey Industrial A-C Boards
- Carey Marine Panel
- Carey Thermalite
- Careyflex Board
- Celobric Buff Blend Textured
- Celobric Insulating Brick Siding
- Vitricel Asbestos Sheets
Celotex’s asbestos products were primarily used in industrial and commercial settings. Commercial and residential construction projects, asbestos mines and manufacturing facilities are locations that may have used or manufactured Celotex products.
Those who install or handle Celotex products may develop illnesses from contact with asbestos-contaminated products.
Occupations most at risk include:
- Insulation installers
- Construction workers
- Boiler workers
- Home remodelers
- Shipyard workers
Celotex factory employees were exposed to asbestos as they manufactured company products. Employees who worked at Celotex’s asbestos mine in Canada were at risk of heavy exposure to asbestos. Confined spaces inside the mine led to higher concentrations of airborne asbestos. Residents of the town near the mine faced dangerous levels of exposure as well.