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A-Best Products Company

Company History

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, A-Best Products Company was a textile maker that manufactured safety clothing that contained asbestos. The company stopped using asbestos fibers in its products in 1984. In 2002, A-Best Products Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of a high number of asbestos-related lawsuits filed against the company.

Products Manufactured by A-Best Products Company that Contained Asbestos

For years, workers who were exposed to dangerously hot equipment on the job were given protective clothing made from asbestos to shield them from the heat. Unfortunately, the aprons, gloves and coats designed to protect them may actually have done them more harm than good – though they didn’t know it at the time.

Asbestos, a set of six silicate minerals found in large deposits in nature, was a very popular substance in industry and manufacturing beginning around the time of the Industrial Revolution. In fact, asbestos became known as a “miracle mineral” in some industries because of its excellent heat- and fire-resistant properties, its strength and its low cost. Building materials, insulation, fireproofing materials, even cigarettes were manufactured using the mineral’s long, stringy fibers.

The asbestos drop cloths, gloves, mittens, coats and coveralls manufactured by A-Best Products Company may have prevented workers from being burned, but they also put them at risk of deadly asbestos-related lung diseases. The danger resulted from tiny particles of asbestos released by the clothing items – a risk that grew more severe over time. As long as the clothing items were in one solid piece they posed a minimal safety hazard, but as they aged and began to crack and tear, asbestos particles were released into the air. When a person inhaled those fibers, they could become stuck in a person’s lungs and cause diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer.

However, the public did not become completely aware of the health risks associated with asbestos until the late 1970s, when nearly all uses of the mineral were banned by the federal government. By then, workers had been exposed to hazardous asbestos dust for nearly a century, and thousands of people had been seriously injured because of it. A-Best ceased production of asbestos clothing in 1984.

Items manufactured by A-Best Products Company believed to have contained asbestos include (but are not limited to):

  • Gloves
  • Mittens
  • Coats
  • Coveralls
  • Asbestos Cloth

Occupations at Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Anyone who wore or handled protective clothing manufactured by A-Best before 1984 could have been exposed to asbestos. The exposure could have occurred at any number of locations, as asbestos-containing protective gear was handed out to workers in a range of industries where heat was a danger, including steel mills, oil refineries, power plants, chemical plants and aluminum plants. In some of these facilities, asbestos cloth made by A-Best was also used as a shield to cover furnace doors.

Individuals who made or handled the textiles at an A-Best factory also could have been exposed to raw asbestos fibers during the manufacturing process.

Recent News

Faced with an estimated 50,000 pending asbestos-related lawsuits, A-Best Products Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2002. Two years later, the company established the A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust, a fund to pay for future asbestos liabilities against the company.

Sources

Sources

A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust
http://www.abestasbestostrust.com

“Asbestos Protective Clothing”
www.pic.int/en/dgds/.../usa/American%20alternatives%20part%207.pdf

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

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