01. History of Asbestos Use
Congoleum History of Asbestos Use
In the mid-1800s, Michael Nairn started a company that manufactured heavy sailcloth at a factory in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Other companies bought the sailcloth and used it as flooring, called floorcloth. This floorcloth is the basis for linoleum, which was once commonly made with asbestos.
- Years in Operation: 1886 – Present
- Location: Mercerville, New Jersey
- Production: Flooring
- Asbestos Trust: Yes
Nairn’s business soon began producing linoleum and became known as Nairn Linoleum Manufacturing Company. Over the years, the company expanded, adding other locations in Europe. By 1877, the company was the largest linoleum manufacturer in the world. In 1885, the company established a location in Kearny, New Jersey.
Around this time, a new company called Congoleum was created. It produced unique types of roofing and flooring. After a series of other acquisitions, Congoleum bought Nairn Linoleum. The company became Congoleum Nairn. In 1968, Bath Industries purchased Congoleum Nairn. The new company became Congoleum Industries.
Before the 1980s, many flooring manufacturers used asbestos. Congoleum used it in products made between 1947 and 1984. The mineral’s durability, moldability and heat resistance made it popular. The asbestos in flooring and other products can become dangerous when the materials are worn or broken. Many people faced exposure risks from Congoleum’s asbestos flooring.
Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
02. Asbestos Products
Congoleum Asbestos Products
Congoleum has produced flooring materials throughout its history. The company has been a leader in producing flooring coverings for decades. Yet some of those products used asbestos as an additive.
Congoleum’s products became quite popular. Builders often used them in homes, schools and other buildings. Workers installing the asbestos flooring may have experienced asbestos exposure. As asbestos products age, they may become worn or damaged. This can also expose people to airborne asbestos. Asbestos exposure from Congoleum’s products has led to cancers like mesothelioma for some people.
Congoleum Products Containing Asbestos
|Commercial Vinyl Asbestos Sheet Flooring
|Congoleum Asbestos Sheet Flooring
|Congoleum Vinyl Asbestos Tile
|Cushioned Inlaid Vinyl Sheet Flooring with Asbestos Felt
|Cushioned Vinyl Asbestos Sheet Flooring
|Cushionflor Supreme Asbestos Sheet Flooring
|Fashionflor Cushioned Inlaid Vinyl Sheet Flooring with Asbestos Felt
|Flor-Ever Vinyl Sheet Flooring
|Flor-Ever Vinyl Tile
|Gold Seal Asphalt Tile
|Gold Seal Nairon Custom Tile
|Gold Seal Nairon Standard Sheet Flooring
|Gold Seal Nairon Standard Tile
|Gold Seal Vinyl Inlaids Sheet Flooring
|Gold Seal Vinyl Tile
|Gold Seal Vinylbest Tile
|Inlaid Cushion Vinyl Sheet Flooring with Asbestos Felt
|Inlaid Vinyl Sheet Flooring with Asbestos Felt
|Luxury Cushioned Vinyl Sheet Flooring with Asbestos Felt
|Nairn Asphalt Tile
|Nairn Custom Vinyl Tile
|Nairn Vinyl Asbestos Tile
|Pacemaker Cushioned Vinyl Sheet Flooring
|Peerless Cushioned Vinyl Sheet Flooring
|Spring Luxury Cushioned Vinyl Sheet Flooring
|Ultraflor Sheet Flooring
|Vinyl Cushionflor Sheet Flooring
|Vinylbest Vinyl Asbestos Tile
03. Occupational Exposure
Congoleum and Occupational Exposure
- Constructing or renovating buildings with these products
- Manufacturing or producing these products
- Working in Congoleum’s asbestos-contaminated facility
Congoleum asbestos flooring exposed many workers to asbestos. Anyone in the area while this flooring was installed or repaired may also have been exposed. People living in homes with Congoleum flooring may face these risks, too. Asbestos exposure may occur if homeowners perform repairs, renovations or otherwise disturb Congoleum flooring.
Occupations Impacted by Congoleum's Asbestos Use
04. Asbestos Litigation
Asbestos Litigation Against Congoleum
One lawsuit against Congoleum in 1996 came from a flooring contractor. The plaintiff worked with asbestos flooring made by several companies, including Congoleum, Armstrong International Inc. and others. The resulting exposure to asbestos led to the plaintiff’s pericardial mesothelioma. The jury found the flooring manufacturers were at fault and awarded the plaintiff $3.3 million.
The high number of asbestos lawsuits and mesothelioma claims led the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy required the company to reorganize and create an asbestos trust fund.
05. Asbestos Trust Fund
Congoleum Asbestos Trust Fund
Congoleum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003. With the bankruptcy, Congoleum set up an asbestos trust fund. An asbestos trust fund holds money to compensate current and future victims harmed by the company’s products.
Congoleum initially funded the Congoleum Plan Trust with $270 million. The trust started taking asbestos claims in 2010, and as of 2023, it has more than $159 million remaining.
In 2023, the asbestos trust fund lowered its payment percentage from 12.5% to 8.42%. The payment percentage determines how much compensation claimants can get. It also helps the trust manage its funds to cover future claims. Actual payout awards may be higher based on a victim’s specific case. Factors including, but not limited to, age, exposure type and firm settlement history may all be taken into account.
A mesothelioma lawyer can help victims file Congoleum asbestos trust fund claims.