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:
- Gold Bond Brand Gypsum Board
- ProForm Brand Drywall Finishing Products
- PermaBase Brand Cement Board
The company stopped using asbestos in their products in 1970. All of its current product lines are certified asbestos-free.
Exposed to Asbestos at National Gypsum Company?
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Litigation & Specific Lawsuits
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.
Industries & Occupations
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.
A 2015 assessment by the Society for Risk Analysis highlights the dangers of asbestos exposure among drywall workers employed before the mid-1970s, when joint compounds contained chrysotile asbestos as a filler. The study used a survey and field observations to identify four worker groups to differentiate asbestos exposure based on drywall finishing activities.
Sanding joint compound specialists were the group with the highest concentrations of chrysotile asbestos fibers and respirable dust concentrations. Specialists were followed by generalists and do-it-yourself renovators.
Some of National Gypsum Company's most popular asbestos products include:
- Gold Bond Asbestos Permaboard
- Gold Bond Asbestos Cement Board
- Gold Bond Cement
- Gold Bond Plaster
- Gold Bond Tar Paper
- Gold Bond Adhesives
- Gold Bond Abestone
- Gold Bond Siding
- Gold Bond Plasticrylic Panels
- Gold Bond Texture Paint
- Gold Bond Fire-Shield Plaster
- Gold Bond Exterior Stucco
However, the company incorporated asbestos into at least 30 different building materials over the years.
Companies Acquired by National Gypsum Company
National Gypsum Company acquired a number of different holdings through a series of mergers and reorganizations.
Employees of the following companies may have worked with asbestos products once their company became part of National Gypsum:
- Universal Gypsum
- Atlantic Gypsum
- Keene’s Cement
- Windsor Paper Mills Inc.
- National Mortar and Supply Company
- Abestone Corporation
- America Encaustic Tile
- Murray Tile
- Huron Portland Cement Company
- Allentown Portland Cement Company
- The Austin Company
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.
5 Cited Article Sources
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Corporation of Mercer University v. National Gypsum Company et al. : Retrieved from: http://www.lawskills.com/case/ga/id/475/7/index.html
- Associated Press News Archive Company Pays $8.4 million in Asbestos Settlement with School Districts. (13 August 1987). Retrieved from: http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1987/Company-Pays-$8-4-Million-In-Asbestos-Settlement-With-School-Districts/id-6db8cefc3ed3759feddbcaa4aa3bb83e
- Gale Cengage International Directory of Company Histories National Gypsum Company.
- National Gypsum Company NGC Heritage. : Retrieved from: http://ngc-heritage.com/ngc-ninety.htm
- Boelter, F. Xia, Y. and Dell, L. (2015). Comparative Risks of Cancer from Drywall Finishing Based on Stochastic Modeling of Cumulative Exposures to Respirable Dusts and Chrysotile Asbestos Fibers. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/risa.12297
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Last Modified January 31, 2019