DAP, Inc. Company History
DAP, Inc. is a manufacturer of home repair and construction products, including caulks, sealants, cements, adhesives, glazings and spacklings. A leader in its field, well-known DAP brands – including Kwik Seal Tub and Tile Adhesive Caulk, 33 Glazing and Plastic Wood Filler – are sold at some 60,000 hardware stores and other retail locations.
The company can be traced back to 1865, when founders Robert H. Dicks and Elmer Wiggim, working out of Dicks’ garage in Dayton, Ohio, started producing sealing wax for use in food canning. Dicks bought out Wiggim in 1906 and joined with a new partner, George Pontius, and the pair forged a new company in 1913 known as the Dicks-Pontius Company. When Robert Dicks died, his son took over the company and expanded it into the areas of putty and caulk manufacturing. The Dicks-Pontius Company bought several other companies throughout the 1950s, and in 1957 merged with the Chicago-based Armstrong Company. The partnership was renamed Dicks-Armstrong-Pontius – which soon became known as DAP.
Ownership of DAP has shifted several times in recent decades. In 1987, the company was purchased by gypsum product giant USG for $127 million. DAP again changed hands in 1999, when RPM International, one of the world’s top paints and coatings manufacturers, bought the company for $290 million. Today, DAP continues to be owned by RPM. The company is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland and has five facilities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with sales worldwide.
DAP, Inc. Manufactured Some Products That Contained Asbestos
Caulks and sealants are common products used in a variety of plumbing and construction projects. From bathtubs to pipes to shipbuilding, caulk is frequently used to seal joints and create air-tight or water-tight seals between panels or pipes. Sealants are chemical substances that add a protective layer to a surface to which it is applied – usually concrete, cement, floor tiles or wood.
For years, the makers of caulks and sealants used asbestos in their products to make them stronger, more durable, and fire resistant. The substance seemed like a logical choice; since it became popular in manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, asbestos had become a staple in thousands of products. The mineral was highly effective as a strengthener and fire retardant, and because it occurred plentifully in nature, it was relatively inexpensive and easy to get.
Today, we know the health risks associated with asbestos. Asbestos generally becomes dangerous when its fibers are inhaled, so as products age and break down, or when dust created by an asbestos product is inhaled, the substance can do substantial damage to a person’s respiratory system. This means that asbestos products could do harm years after they are applied. For example, a pre-mixed caulk product might not be hazardous directly out of the tube, but would become more dangerous later, when the product dried or cracked. Powdered products that had to be mixed to create a paste might also create a hazard.
Executives at DAP, Inc. say they stopped making products with asbestos in 1977, but until then, a number of the company’s products contained the mineral. DAP products that may have contained asbestos include (but are not limited to):
- DAP White Caulking Compound
- DAP Bowl Setting Compound
- DAP Butyl Gutter and Lap Sealer
- DAP Rely-On Roof Cement
- DAP Black-Tite Roof Sealant
- DAP 33 Glazing
- DAP Tharco Asbestos Boiler Putty
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Construction workers, plumbers, and people who did home repair work using DAP products made in 1977 or earlier may be at risk for diseases like mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis. Because asbestos fibers are released into the air as these products crack and break down, workers who took part in demolition projects and repair work in which caulking or adhesives were scraped or removed may be at a higher risk.
DAP products could have harmed people long after the company stopped using asbestos in 1977, because the older product was still present in the infrastructure of many homes and buildings. In fact, DAP’s asbestos-containing caulks, sealants, glazes and putties may still be present in some buildings, so extreme care should be utilized in the demolitions in older buildings.
Sadly, an estimated 1.3 million construction workers are exposed to asbestos in the workplace each year. And an estimated 10,000 workers are expected to lose their lives each year for the next ten years, from diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis – diseases caused by working with asbestos without adequate protective measures.
It’s possible that you or someone you know, though no fault of your own may have been exposed to life-threatening asbestos fibers and could be at risk of disease. Take time to learn more about the risk factors and treatment options for mesothelioma.
Since 1985, DAP, Inc., through its parent company, RPM Industries, has been the defendant in thousands of asbestos-related cases. By 2005, RPM had paid out more than $200 million in damages to plaintiffs who said their health was compromised by the company’s hazardous asbestos products. As of 2008, RPM reported that it was involved in more than 11,000 active asbestos-related lawsuits.
While the company has reported that it stopped making products with asbestos in 1977, a 2007 study by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization detected asbestos in two DAP products: 33 Glazing Compound and Crack Shot Spackling Paste. RPM executives issued a statement, denying that their company currently uses asbestos in any of its products.
Author: Tara Strand
Senior Content WriterRead about Tara
Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli
Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their FamiliesRead about Jennifer
History of DAP
“Asbestos Turns Up in Toys, Children’s Clay”