For do-it-yourselfers of a certain age, Bondex may be a familiar name: For years, Bondex International produced a well-known line of household patch and repair products in the United States. The company offered home remodeling and general contractor products for surface preparation, texturing, wallpapering and concrete and masonry repair.
Bondex was owned by Reardon, a company founded in 1883 and incorporated in 1914 in Missouri. In 1966, Reardon and its Bondex line were purchased by RPM Inc., which was then known as Republic Powdered Metals. The purchase marked RPM’s first acquisition and brought the company into the realm of consumer products. RPM subsequently bought a number of other successful industrial and consumer coating companies such as Rust-Oleum Corporation and DAP Products Inc.
Today RPM, headquartered in Medina County, Ohio, about 25 miles south of Cleveland, continues to make specialty coatings, sealants and building products for both consumer and industrial use. The company has experienced tremendous growth over the past 25 years, growing from a $300 million specialty coatings and chemicals business to a $3 billion holding company comprised of 40 different companies.
Products Manufactured at Bondex International Company that Contained Asbestos
Until 1981, many of Bondex’s home repair products were made with asbestos, a mineral comprised of long, crystalline fibers that was a popular ingredient in thousands of products through much of the 20th century. The first commercial asbestos mine was developed in Canada in 1874, and before long, the mineral had cemented its place within the growing manufacturing world of the Industrial Revolution. Asbestos was strong, long-lasting, an excellent insulator and even helped stop the spread of fires – all qualities that made the mineral a hit with manufacturers of everything from flooring tiles to shingles to oven mitts.
Decades elapsed before the public learned the grave health risks associated with asbestos exposure. In the late 1970s, nearly all uses of asbestos were banned by the federal government – but by then, untold thousands of workers had already been exposed. Many workers were shocked to learn that the asbestos dust they had been breathing for years, even decades, may have been seriously damaging their lungs. Among the more serious health risks of asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, an inoperable form of lung cancer for which asbestos is the only known cause.
Bondex used asbestos in dozens of products marketed under numerous brand names. The company stopped using the mineral in most products by 1977, though a few products were manufactured with asbestos until 1981. Below is a list of Bondex products known to have contained asbestos.
|Product Name||Years Manufactured||Packaging||Description||Other Names Marketed Under|
|Bondex All Purpose Joint Cement||Last year produced with asbestos – 1976||5, 15 and 25 lb. Also sold in 4 and 18 lb containers, kitted with joint tape||Off-white powder to be mixed with water||Reardon’s SX Joint Cement, Trax Joint Cement, Penncraft Joint Cement, NPD SX Joint Cement, NPD SX Joint Cement Combination (kit with joint tape), and Hi & Dri Joint Cement|
|Bondex Patching Plaster||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||1, 2.5, 5, 15 and 25 lb bags.||Off-white powder to be mixed with water|
|Bondex Joint Cement||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||12, 24, 50 and 62 lb containers||Off-white paste||Reardon’s Ready-Mixed Joint Cement, Reardon’s Pre-Mixed Joint Cement, Wards All Purpose Joint Cement (Ready-Mixed), Penncraft Pre-Mixed Joint Cement, and Brod Dugan Red-I-Mix Joint Cement|
|Bondex Alumanation Aluminum Roof Coating||1967-1981||1, 2.5, 5 and 55 gallon containers||heavy-bodied, silver-grey liquid||Republic Powdered Metals, Inc. and was also packaged as Alumantion 350|
|Dramex Texture Paint||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||5, 15 and 25 lb.||Off-white powder to be mixed with water||Dramex Interior Finish; Trax Texture Paint; Wards Texture; Dramex Spanish Texturing Paint; Metro Texturing (NYC only)|
|Dramex Ready Mixed Textured Paint||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||1-gallon container||White paste; available in smooth, medium and rough finish||Dramex Ready Mixed Interior Finish; F.O. Pierce Dramex; Metro Interior Finish (NYC only); Metro Texturing (NYC only); Metro Spanish Texture Paint (NYC only)|
|Water Putty (Wood Putty)||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||1, 4 and 25 lb.||Off-white powder to be mixed with water||Reardon’s Water Putty; Penncraft Water Putty; Wards Wood Putty|
|Multi-Patch||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||1, 5, 15 and 25 lb.||Off-white powder to be mixed with water|
|SX Topping Cement||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||25-lb. containers||Off-white powder to be mixed with water||Reardon’s SX Topping Cement; Trax Topping Cement; Hi & Dri Topping Cement|
|Joint Compound – All Purpose||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||25-lb. containers||Off-white powder to be mixed with water||Reardon’s All Purpose Joint Topping and Texture Paint; Reardon’s 500-C All Purpose Joint Cement; NPD All Purpose Joint Cement; Cook’s Lifeline All Purpose Texture Joint and Topping Cement; “Our Best Grade” Joint Cement (St. Louis, MO area only); GSA Joint Compound; Reardon’s All Purpose Joint Cement; Bondex “Premium Joint Compound”; Bondex Joint Compound; Bondex 100-A All Purpose Joint Cement; Bondex 200-B All Purpose Joint Cement; Bondex 500-C All Purpose Joint Cement|
|Block Filler and Primer||Last year produced with asbestos – 1977||25-lb. containers||White powder to be mixed with water||Reardon’s Block Filler and Primer; Penncraft Block Filler|
|Bontone Fibred Masonry Coating||Last year produced with asbestos – 1974||1 and 6 gallon containers||Available in white and ten basic colors – viscous, ready-to-use liquid|
|Bondek Roof Cement (Bondex Roof Cement)||1969-1981||Quart, 1 and 5 gallon containers||Black, thick non-pourable paste||Perma-Plastic (under agreement with Republic Powdered Metals, Inc.)|
|Bondek Roof Coating (Bondex Roof Coating)||1969-1981||1, 5 and 55 gallon containers||Black, gooey semi-liquid||Bondek Black Mastic; Permaroof(under agreement with Republic Powdered Metals, Inc.)|
|“Stays White” Mobile Home Roof Coating||1972-1981||1, 2 ½ and 5 gallon containers||White, heavy-bodied liquid|
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
The people at greatest risk for exposure to asbestos in Bondex products are construction workers, roofers, masons and drywall tapers, as well as anyone who may have used Bondex products in a home repair project before 1981. Demolition projects completed after 1981 could have proven dangerous as well, since older products made with asbestos could have been present for years after the fact in older buildings’ walls and roofs. Even today, caution should still be exercised when working on older buildings.
Joint compound and other asbestos containing putties and cements are especially dangerous to people’s health because they are often sanded down on the job site, a process that can release a great amount of hazardous asbestos dust into the air. Rarely, however, did workers or homeowners think to wear protective masks while conducting the work, since they did not believe the dust to be toxic.
Construction workers are one of the groups that were most impacted by asbestos in the workplace. Roughly 1.3 million construction workers are exposed to asbestos on the job each year, with an estimated 10,000 expected to lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases each year for the next ten years.
Bondex International Bankruptcy
As a result of a high number of asbestos-related lawsuits against the company, parent company RPM Inc. put Bondex into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in May 2010. RPM’s chief executive said his company had paid out more than $600 million in asbestos claims for Bondex over the past eight years. RPM reportedly set aside an additional $400 million in reserves to cover future lawsuits.
Bondex, along with another subsidiary the parent company put into bankruptcy, was reported to have 2009 revenues of $329 million, about 10 percent of RPM’s total income.
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