The History and Growth of Pacor Incorporated: the Leading Supplier of Pipe Coverings During WW2

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Pacor Incorporated began in the 1920s as Philadelphia Asbestos Corporation. They became known for supplying asbestos-laden insulations and other materials used in piping, engines, and other products that needed heatproof insulators such as navy ships. Their carcinogenic production line was used in a myriad of industries, which left many types of manufacturing workers and construction contractors vulnerable to diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

By the 1980s, Pacor was drowning in the debt of asbestos-related lawsuits. They sought bankruptcy as a solution to the massive amounts of verdicts and settlements they otherwise would have faced in the coming decades. By the late 1980s, Pacor Incorporated has established a two billion dollar trust fund through the bankruptcy court to pay off claims for personal injuries caused by Pacor’s asbestosis-inducing products.

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Pacor made pipe-coverings that were laden with asbestos-fibers, many of which were implemented in Navy ships during the second world war. People who worked with these insulations and coverings were forced to breathe in the dusts and fibers, which lodged in their lungs and turned into mesotheliomas or asbestosis. In some people, asbestosis showed up within a decade or two, but mesotheliomas did not show up for up to fifty years later. Because the military is absolved of liability in cases of this nature, veterans had to resort to suing manufacturers and distributors of the asbestos-laden products that caused their cancers. Ship yard workers and veterans frequently were exposed to various types of asbestos-insulations made by a range of companies, which resulted in many of them having to sue a large number of companies to pay for their claims. After Pacor’s bankruptcy, many of them had to resort to filing claims through the trust to get compensation for their ailments.

Although Pacor eventually stopped utilizing asbestos-based insulations once federal regulations banned the use of these carcinogenic materials, people continued to come into contact with the hazardous fibers for many more years. People who had to disassemble, repair, or replace the out of code insulations, old or broken pipes, or other machinery that utilized Pacor’s insulations were subsequently exposed to asbestosis-inducing dusts and fibers.

People who served in the military and worked in these industries were not informed of the potentially fatal health hazards of the jobs they were doing and frequently did not have the opportunity to protect themselves. At times, people also brought home the carcinogenic fibers and dusts to their families without knowing they were putting their loved ones’ lives in danger. Wives who washed their husbands uniforms or children who sat on furniture that was covered in toxic dusts and fibers occasionally developed secondhand mesothelioma without ever having worked in an asbestosis-inducing industry themselves.

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