John Manville Corporation

Topics: Asbestos, Fiberglass, Fiber Pages: 10 (2925 words) Published: April 8, 2013
1.1Johns Manville Corporation’s Background

Johns Manville Corporation (JM) operates as a leading manufacturer and marketer of insulation products for buildings and equipment, roofing systems, and various engineered products, including fibers, fabric and nonwoven mats, and filtration media. The company has 55 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe, and China. Until the mid-1980s, JM mined and sold asbestos for use in insulation, building, aerospace, automotive, and other industries. The company divested itself of its interests in all asbestos-related businesses but remained involved in substantial litigation brought by asbestos workers with claims based on the effects of working with the material. In 1927, the company went public as the Johns Manville Corporation and later started producing asbestos products for the U.S. war effort. The government mandated that asbestos products be used to insulate Navy vessels in 1945, and Johns Manville produced a number of insulating products with a mixture of asbestos and silica. In 1958, Johns Manville branched out into fiberglass. The company moved its headquarters from New York to Denver, Colorado, in 1972, and two years later became one of the leading U.S. manufacturers of PVC pipe, asbestos cement pipe and fiberglass. However, when thousands of people began developing serious illnesses as a result of asbestos exposure from Johns Manville products and filed lawsuits, the company filed for bankruptcy in 1982. In 1988, the company emerged from bankruptcy and founded the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., acquired Johns Manville in 2001, and today the company produces insulation and construction products. However, its product line is now made with fiber glass and polyurethane. The company has also won awards for its formaldehyde-free insulation.

1.2Exposures of Asbestos in Manville

Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. Asbestos was strong, flexible, and fire-resistant fibrous mineral. Archaeologist reported that the first usage of asbestos is found in textiles dating from 2500 BC. Meanwhile, the Greeks use it for wick in oil lamps. Modern asbestos are began to be used widely in 1860s. Most of the manufactures used it in the absorption and insulation qualities. Since asbestos has a fire-retardant characteristic, it is used widely in floor coverings, wall boards, ceiling tiles and curtains. In the early 1929, JM started to face many lawsuits for asbestos-related death. Any type of asbestos may cause serious health hazards into mankind. Many JM’s employee has suffered from asbestosis and lung cancer due to exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer associated with asbestos that affects the linings of the chest or abdominal cavities and that usually kills its victims within a year of its appearance. Johns Manville was one of the first companies to manufacture asbestos-containing products. The company's own founder, Henry Ward Johns, died of "dust phthisis pneumonitis" – a disease believed to be asbestosis. As of the sheer number of products manufactured by Johns Manville, a number of different people were put at risk of asbestos exposure. Other than the products produced by Johns Manville, the company also owned a number of mines and exported raw asbestos to other countries. Those who were at risk from asbestos exposure from Johns Manville products include:- a) Asbestos abatement workers

b) Bakers
c) Boiler workers
d) Carpenters
e) Construction workers
f) Drywall installers and tapers
g) Electricians
h) Factory workers
i) Firefighters
j) Furnace worker
k) HVAC Installers and repairers
l) Insulation installer
m) Military veterans
n) Millwrights
o) Miners
p) Painter
q) Pipe fitter
r) Roofer
s) Shipyard worker
t) Steel foundry worker
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