The Flintkote Company established its product line in Massachusetts for over 30 years before opening a plant in New Orleans in the late 1930s. Thus began forty years of asbestos exposure in manufacturing roofing products and floor tiles in NOLA.
By 1963, Flintkote had 147 plants, including 21 international. Though they produced gypsum, paper products, pipes, and other cement and asbestos products, their focus was on construction materials throughout the 1970s. But in 1987, Flintkote sold its construction, stone, and cement products units as they turned their attention to their enormous asbestos liabilities.
Flintkote today is known for its asbestos-related lawsuits. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004. At that time, they had paid $630 million for over 350,000 asbestos claims with over 155,000 cases yet to be tried at the time of bankruptcy. They remain liable for damages created by their use of asbestos.
Asbestos exposure in manufacturing
The New Orleans plant was located at Poland Avenue and N. Galvez Street along a waterway that flowed directly into the Mississippi River. Workers handled raw asbestos here while adding it to roofing products and floor tiles. This continued at the New Orleans plant until the late 1970s.
Results of asbestos exposure
By handling the asbestos with no protection, the microscopic fibers were allowed to permeate the air and, subsequently, enter the lungs through inhalation. These fibers can stay in the lungs for years – or decades – until possibly leading to lung cancer, asbestosis, or the fatal mesothelioma.
Even today, there are workers fighting for justice after exposure at this plant. If you, or a loved one, believe you were exposed to asbestos, it is critical to see a doctor for regular medical exams.