Bondex was a joint compound created and marketed by the Reardon Company. The bonding agent / joint compound was used on both commercial and residential projects. Because of the success of the product, in 1969 The Reardon Company (amongst quite a few other up-and-coming companies) was acquired by RPM International. Bondex contained asbestos – CHRYSOTILE ASBESTOS to be exact – and even after the dangers of asbestos were known, RPM International continued to manufacture and market the product. In late May of 2010 a press release announced that Bondex filed chapter 11 bankruptcy as a result of the pending and anticipated asbestos claims.
Chrysotile asbestos is also known as “white” asbestos and makes up nearly 95% of the asbestos found in the United States today. It is a naturally occurring fibrous group of minerals resistant to heat and are excellent thermal, electrical and acoustic insulators.
There are actually six types of asbestos: Serpentine, Amphibole, Amosite, Crocidolite and Chrysotile. The debate has been which type of asbestos is more toxic. All types of asbestos fibers are known to cause serious health hazards in humans. While it is agreed that amosite and crocidolite are the most hazardous asbestos fiber types, chrysotile asbestos has produced tumors in animals and is a recognized cause of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma in humans.
During an asbestos estimation trail, Bondex put forth an expert witness that testified that Chrysotile joint compound is not likely to cause mesothelioma. Dr. Allan Feingold, a lung specialist in Miami, went to bat for the debtors. Fiengold testified that it [chrysotile] is “much less likely” to stay in the mesothelium, or the lining of the lungs, than other forms of asbestos, such as amphibole asbestos.. He later admitted that he worked only with a small sampling of 229 mesothelioma sufferers and that he was never actually given access to the lung tissue samples of those claimants. Instead, Feingold admitted that all he had to go by was the information that he was given.
Of course, Plaintiffs marched their own expert onto the witness stand who did not hesitate to testify that there is no question that Chrysotile exposure leads to cancer of the lining of the lung. After recapping her own studies she concluded that at this point – the link between Chrysotile asbestos and mesothelioma – “has been very well established”
There are two undisputed facts and that is that there are over 2000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year as a result of asbestos exposure. Secondly, that 95% of the asbestos found in the United States is Chrysotile asbestos. One need not be a genius statistician to do the math.