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Starting in 1916, Eagle-Pitcher Industries, Inc. manufactured lead as well as zinc products. The company later manufactured other items containing asbestos including insulation. Then, in 1996, Eagle-Pitcher established a $400 million asbestos trust fund to compensate people who were exposed to asbestos products.The History of Asbestos Use and Eagle-Pitcher
In 1916, Eagle White Lead combined with a mining company to establish EaglePitcher Industries Incorporated. The company mined zinc as well as various other minerals to produce storage batteries.
Following World War II, the United States military became one of the company’s biggest consumers of batteries. This substantial growth let Eagle-Pitcher explore mining other minerals as well as manufacturing additional products. One mineral manufactured by the company was asbestos, which was widely used due to its heat-resistant and durable nature. Asbestos was viewed as an optimal material for insulating various vehicles including ships.
Eagle-Pitcher continued to mine asbestos and manufacture other products containing the material until the mid-1970s.
Later, Eagle-Pitcher re-organized in 1991 and then again in 2009. Then, in 2010, the company was subsequently sold to OM Group Incorporated. The company currently functions as EaglePitcher Technologies while most of the company’s subsidiaries have been sold off to other companies. Additionally, in 2007, Eagle-Pitcher purchased Energy Storage System, which is a lithium-ion manufacturer.Asbestos Exposure at Eagle-Pitcher
Eagle-Pitcher primarily relied on asbestos as an additive element in its products that could increase durability and heat resistance. Data provided by Eagle-Pitcher Industries Settlement Trust reveals that approximately 7,000 companies utilized Eagle-Pitcher asbestos in products.
Today, several of Eagle-Pitcher’s previous plant locations are now Superfund sites. These sites are in Illinois, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. These locations have been determined to have high levels of hazardous waste that contaminates the ground.Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits and Eagle-Pitcher
Eagle-Pitcher did not discontinue the use of asbestos until the 1970s. Beginning in the 1980s, Eagle-Pitcher created a $45 million fund to compensate for asbestos claims. This, however, was not enough to keep up to date with the large number of lawsuits initiated against the company.
In 1991, Eagle-Pitcher filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the first time. The company faced over $2.5 billion in asbestos claims. The company’s asbestos trust fund began accepting claims in 1997.
In 2005, Eagle-Pitcher faced greater financial responsibilities than the company could handle connected to its use of asbestos. The company filed for bankruptcy protection a second time to address the over $500 million that the company faced in asbestos-connected debt.
As of 2021, Eagle-Pitcher’s asbestos trust fund pays 33%, which is a much greater amount than other funds of comparable size.Speak With a Compassionate Mesothelioma Exposure Attorney
If you or a loved one worked for Eagle-Pitcher and were exposed to asbestos-containing products, you might end up diagnosed with mesothelioma or another associated condition. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact Throneberry Law Group today to schedule a free case evaluation.