The National Gypsum Company (NGC) made extensive use of asbestos in its products beginning with its founding in 1925 and not ending until 1970. This over four decades of use caused widespread exposure to asbestos fibers that eventually led to many lawsuits being filed against NGC. This would lead to the company filing for bankruptcy and forming an asbestos settlement trust fund.
History of NGC
NGC is still in business today, with its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. NGC was originally formed to produce light, flexible wallboard products. The company began including a gold bond certificate with its products promising to pay $5,000 to anyone who could prove another company’s wallboard was lighter and stronger. This marketing campaign became so successful NGC acquired a trademark on “Gold Bond.” The company began expanding the Gold Bond product line to other products, including plaster, acoustical tile, and rock wool, among numerous others. Many of these products contained asbestos.
The use of asbestos in NGC products impacted its own employees as well as workers in residential and commercial construction. Specifically, NGC products with asbestos most severely affected sheetrock workers, drywall tapers, and plasterers. Particular danger occurred for those individuals who sawed or cut products containing asbestos.
By 1990, NGC was over $1 billion in debt, largely due to asbestos-related lawsuits. As a result, the company was forced into bankruptcy. In order to complete the bankruptcy process, NGC was required to setup and fund an asbestos trust to pay for then-existing property damage claims, as well as future personal injury claims. NGC transferred more than $5 million in cash and $600 million in insurance policies to the trust. After emerging from bankruptcy, the company began acquiring some of its competitors. Today, NGC has three primary product brands:
- Gold Bond Gypsum Board;
- ProForm drywall finishing products; and
- PermaBase Cement Board.
All of NGC’s current products are certified to be free of asbestos.
A Dangerous Material
When asbestos is damaged or disturbed, microscopic fibers are released into the air. When these fibers are breathed into the lungs, they can lead to serious health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. These health complications often slowly develop over a long period of time. As a result, exposure from decades ago may only now be manifesting itself into a disease that can be diagnosed.
The use of asbestos was not discontinued in the United States until the 1980s even though the dangers of it were known by many manufacturers several years earlier. This placed at risk numerous individuals, including miners, construction workers, and people who worked at shipyards. Family members were also placed at risk when workers returned to their homes because the fibers would often stick to workers’ clothing or hair.
If you believe that exposure to asbestos has caused the development of a health issue, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Silver Law Group, we understand how difficult it is for you and your family to face an asbestos-related disease. Our attorneys will travel to you to provide the help you need.