In 1925, three entrepreneurs founded National Gypsum to produce light, flexible wallboard products. The company offered a $5,000 Gold Bond with each of their shipments, inviting consumers to prove that any other product could outperform their gypsum-based wallboards. The Gold Bond marketing campaign was so successful that National Gypsum eventually registered Gold Bond as its trademark in 1926. The company expanded the Gold Bond product line to include plaster, acoustical tile and rock wool and dozens of other products – most of which contained asbestos.
Crumbling under a debt of more than $1 billion (primarily from asbestos litigation), NGC filed for bankruptcy in October 1990. It reorganized three years later and rebranded themselves as the “new” National Gypsum Company. After acquiring numerous competitors like Universal Gypsum and Atlantic Gypsum, the company operates three primary product brands:
The company stopped using asbestos in their products in 1970. All of its current product lines are certified asbestos-free.
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By 1992, National Gypsum Company faced approximately 45,000 unresolved asbestos lawsuits. As part of their reorganization plan, NGC established an asbestos settlement trust the following year. It set up the trust to handle existing property damage claims and future bodily injury claims. Nation Gypsum transferred more than $5 million in cash and $600 million in insurance policies to cover these settlements.
The trust handles lawsuits from both individuals and companies. In one 1987 settlement, the company paid $8.4 million to school districts across 19 states for damages caused by their asbestos products. By 2010, the trust had paid out more than $203 million in property damage claims, wrongful death claims and bodily injury claims.
National Gypsum’s asbestos products reached far beyond the company’s own employees. Their products affected workers in residential and commercial construction, as well as workers at any jobsite where National Gypsum products were present.
Until the 1970s, sheetrock workers, drywall tapers and plasterers all came into contact with National Gypsum Company’s asbestos products. When workers sawed, drilled or cut the company’s Gold Bond products, they may have released asbestos into the air. This led thousands of workers across multiple industries to develop asbestos-related diseases.
However, the company incorporated asbestos into at least 30 different building materials over the years.
National Gypsum Company acquired a number of different holdings through a series of mergers and reorganizations.
For several years, Gold Bond Products was a separate operating company from National Gypsum. However, it was re-integrated into the parent company in 1993.
Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of professional writing experience. He joined Asbestos.com in 2016, and he spends much of his time reading, analyzing and reporting on mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advancements. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel. Matt also edits some of the pages on the website.
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