The dangerous connection between asbestos and plastic products
Did your job ever include working with compression molding?
Compression molding processes were common in manufacturing from 1960 to 1985. This phenolic molding process often contained a significant percentage of asbestos.
Workers who manufactured phenolic plastic molding compounds and who used molding compounds to manufacture products have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Family members of exposed workers have developed asbestos-related diseases from exposure to their loved one’s contaminated clothing.
Products that were made
Compression molding processes were used to manufacture electrical, automotive and aircraft products. The products included:
- Electrical components such as circuit breakers, switchboards and electrical panels.
- Consumer goods including plastic handles, tools, cookware and appliances.
- Automobile parts including transmission parts (phenolic reactors), arc chutes, brake pads and brake linings.
- Aircraft and weapon systems such as missile casings, aircraft drop tanks and rocket nose cones.
How the asbestos exposure occurred
The primary source of exposure occurred when molders poured the molding compounds in the hopper connected to the molding machines. The molding compounds typically were supplied in barrels or bags. Sometimes they were transported into a plant via railcar.
The molding compounds were granular and stirred up a substantial amount of dust when poured into the hoppers. The molders and set-up personnel experienced a substantial asbestos exposure from the molding compounds poured into the hoppers as well as from handling the molds when they came out of the machines.
Once the final product was molded and had hardened, it frequently was transferred to a finishing area where excess plastic pieces, known as flash, was removed using a grinding wheel and hand grinders. The people who performed these tasks experienced high levels of asbestos exposure from grinding and sanding off the flash.
Other workers were exposed
Those who worked in the mold rooms and finishing departments, performing other tasks, experienced significant exposure as well.
Maintenance personnel, electricians, pipefitters and other production workers experienced daily exposures to asbestos from the molding compounds even though they did not personally use them.
Manufacturers that made asbestos plastics include:
- Plastic Engineering Company (Plenco)
- Hooker Chemical Company
- Durez Corporation
- Union Carbide Corporation (UCC)
- Rogers Corporation
- Fiberite, Inc.
- General Electric Company
- Monsanto Chemical Corp.
Companies that used asbestos-containing molding compounds to manufacture products include:
- Cutler Hammer Inc.
- Eaton Corporation
- Plastic Moldings Corporation
- Square D. Corporation
- Chicago Molded Products Co.
- Diemolding Corp.
- Modern Plastics
- Dickten Masch Plastics
If you or a loved one worked at any of these facilities or others throughout the country, and developed mesothelioma, contact the law firm of Satterley & Kelley PLLC immediately.
Our attorneys have handled cases for clients involving exposure to asbestos-containing molding compounds at many of these locations, recovering tens of millions of dollars in compensation. We understand the products at issue and the exposures. We can help you recover for your preventable injury.