Rock Wool Manufacturing Company is a wool insulation manufacturer founded in 1943 in Leeds, Alabama. The company's involvement in construction materials expanded gradually, encompassing insulating cements and asbestos boards in the 1950s.
Years Operated: 1943-present
Headquarters: Leeds, Alabama
Business: Manufactures insulation and cement
Asbestos Trust: Yes (Asbestos Resolution Trust)
Bankruptcy Status: Filed 1996, reorganized 1999
Amount in Trust: Inactive
Year Created: 1999
Rock Wool’s products included items used in all areas of construction. Until 1987, Rock Wool manufactured two types of mineral wool insulation material: Blow wool and batt wool.
In 1988, the company added wrapped pipe insulation to its manufacturing processes. Rock Wool still makes products for residential, industrial and commercial buildings as well as marine applications — none of which contains asbestos. Most of its products sold today are marketed under the trade name DELTA.
Rock wool is another name for mineral wool insulation. The material was developed in the 1850s and patented in the U.S. in 1875. It remained prominent in construction through the 1950s, but is still used today in some new construction, manufactured housing and special applications such as insulation on low-slope roofed cathedral ceilings.
Industry leaders of rock wool products included Johns Manville and Gold Bond. The majority of these products did not contain asbestos, but some companies experimented with stitching asbestos and rock wool together.
Rock Wool Manufacturing Company was one of several companies that incorporated asbestos into their products primarily for insulating purposes. Two products manufactured by the company known to contain asbestos include One Shot and Delta Maid AF. Both of these items are insulation cement products and were likely used to help secure pipe insulation.
The installation or removal of such products was a source for asbestos exposure. The workers who manufactured Rock Wool’s products also faced asbestos hazards while on the job.
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The Rock Wool Manufacturing Company was named as a defendant in many asbestos cases, some of which were filed by people diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer cause by asbestos exposure.
During a 1994 trial, a jury found Rock Wool negligent of producing unreasonably dangerous products. In addition to having to pay damages to a number of parties, the company was found guilty of not placing hazard warnings on their products.
In a 1995 case filed by Samuel Jackson and his wife, Rock Wool Manufacturing Company was one of the many co-defendants that settled during trial. The Jacksons claimed asbestos-containing products manufactured by Rock Wool caused Jackson to develop an asbestos-related disease.
These cases were just a few of the estimated 150,000 asbestos lawsuits filed against Rock Wool Manufacturing and owner George Cusick.
In 1996, these lawsuits forced the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On Dec. 20, 1999, Rock Wool Manufacturing Company reorganized and established the Asbestos Resolution Trust to manage and settle asbestos personal injury and property damage claims as well as process new asbestos claims brought against the company.
The Asbestos Resolution Trust also addresses cases concerning two other asbestos manufacturing companies: the Rutland Fire Clay Company Asbestos Trust and the M.H. Detrick Company Asbestos Trust. This trust is currently inactive, with the last open claim filing period for Rock Wool Manufacturing Company ending on Jan. 13, 2011.
Rock Wool manufactured asbestos insulation for a variety of purposes. Their pipe insulation products are likely responsible for much of their ties to asbestos exposure.
These products were used in many locations and affected a number of occupations, including power plant workers, shipyard workers and even Navy crew members, as Rock Wool products were commonly used in shipbuilding.
Workers who helped make these products faced some of the biggest risks for exposure. Former workers of Rock Wool should be well aware of symptoms associated with asbestos-related diseases.
The construction industry was impacted by Rock Wool asbestos products more than any other industry. The company used asbestos in their cement products from 1958 to 1970, including:
These adhesives were used to secure thermal pipe insulation to pipes after asbestos insulation was tightly wrapped around them. When these products are disturbed during renovations or other projects, asbestos dust becomes airborne and those nearby can inhale toxic asbestos fibers.
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