Written By:
Last Modified January 25, 2022
This page features 13 Cited Research Articles
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating
Read Our Testimonials
Quick Facts About North American Refractories Co.
  • Founded:
  • Years Operated:
    1929 - Present
  • Headquarters:
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • Business:
    Refractories such as ceramics, hearths and related products
  • Asbestos Trust:
  • Bankruptcy Status:
    Filed 2002, reorganized 2008

NARCO’s History with Asbestos

North American Refractories Company, also known as NARCO, formed in 1929 and became one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of asbestos refractory materials, which are heat-resistant products used to line high-temperature equipment such as furnaces.

NARCO developed heat-resistant products when asbestos use was prevalent because of the mineral’s durability and fireproof nature. Through various mergers and strategic acquisitions, the company’s product line expanded to cover more than just refractories, adding products such as furnace fittings, coating installations, ceramics and brake pads and linings.

The company’s ceramic refractories lined furnaces that were essential to the manufacturing of cement, lime, chemicals, nonferrous metals, glass, iron and steel. The addition of asbestos fibers to the ceramic refractories made these furnaces able to withstand temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis.

At NARCO’s plant in Mount Union, Pennsylvania, refractories were manufactured out of ganister rock, which is a local and naturally occurring sandstone with high silicon dioxide content.

The ganister was pulverized into a powder and mixed with asbestos and other bonding agents until the 1970s, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began regulating the use of asbestos in products.

Development of NARCO Asbestos Trust

NARCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002. It emerged from bankruptcy and reorganized in 2008.

Reorganization established the NARCO Asbestos Trust on April 30, 2013, with initial funding in the amount of $6.32 billion. The trust reportedly paid out more than $100 million in its first year.

According to trust documents, the current payment percentage is set at 100%, which is abnormally high compared to other asbestos trusts.

Honeywell, which owned NARCO from 1979 to 1986, was assigned the company’s asbestos liabilities through NARCO’s bankruptcy. This means Honeywell is responsible for alleged injuries caused by its own asbestos-containing products as well as claims against now-bankrupt companies supplied by NARCO.

In September 2021, Honeywell sued the NARCO trust claiming mismanagement of trust funds and that trustees paid claimants that did not sufficiently prove exposure to NARCO products. The trustees filed a lawsuit in return claiming Honeywell has tried to escape their obligation to pay $150 million annually to the trust to cover claims from those who were harmed by NARCO products.

During the 1970s and 1980s, NARCO manufactured asbestos brake pads and linings sold to other companies. These products reportedly sickened thousands of workers and customers, many of whom have filed asbestos claims.

Because mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases carry a decades-long latency period, NARCO and Honeywell are likely to face additional asbestos claims for years to come.

Mesothelioma patient and wife reading financial aid guide
Exposed to Asbestos at North American Refractories Co.?
Gain access to trust funds, grants and other forms of compensation for you or your loved ones.

Asbestos Litigation Involving NARCO

NARCO faced a significant number of personal injury claims throughout its history, like many other former asbestos manufacturers. By 2003, the company reportedly was named in more than 275,000 asbestos claims and reached agreements with 256,000 of them, or roughly 90%.

  • In a June 2001 case involving five plaintiffs, the victims received a ruling of $130 million against NARCO and Dresser Industries for the companies’ roles in endangering the plaintiffs’ lives with asbestos use.
  • In July 2001, a Texas jury ordered NARCO to pay $6.1 million in damages to Joseph Breaux, who developed mesothelioma after working as a pipefitter for the company. Breaux was exposed to asbestos working with NARCO’s Narcocast, a castable refractory mix.

NARCO’s Asbestos Products & Workers at Risk

NARCO products that contained asbestos include:

  • Unicote
  • Narcocrete
  • Narcogun
  • Narcocast
  • Gun Mix
  • Narcmag
  • Narcolite
  • Aerogun
  • Stazon

Several types of workers helped in the making of NARCO’s refractories and other products. Cement workers, chemical workers, steel and metal workers and engineers all assisted in the manufacturing process.

A large portion of NARCO’s products played roles in industrial processes and required resistance to extremely high temperatures.

Other occupations exposed to NARCO’s asbestos products include:

  • Pipefitters
  • Shipyard workers
  • Boiler workers
  • Railway workers
  • Paper mill workers
  • Textile mill workers
  • Oil refinery workers
  • Power plant workers
  • Rubber factory workers
  • Automobile factory workers
  • Members of the armed forces

Get Free Recipes for Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma packet from the Mesothelioma Center
Read the Top Mesothelioma Guide for Free
Get the Compensation You Deserve

Tell us what you think
Did this article help you?
How did this article help you?
What about this article isn’t helpful for you?
Did this article help you?

Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?