Durez Plastics

Expert Fact Checked

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Jennifer Lucarelli Lawyer and Legal Advisor

Durez Plastics and Chemicals Inc. often used asbestos as part of its process in manufacturing phenolic resins and molding compounds. The company was established in 1921 and used asbestos at least as early as the 1940s, according to records. Asbestos exposure may lead to mesothelioma.

01. History of Asbestos Use

Durez Plastics History of Asbestos Use

Harry Dent founded Industrial Molding Materials Co. in 1921 in North Tonawanda, New York. But it quickly changed its name to General Plastics. By 1926, the company settled on the name Durez Plastics. Durez is a shortened form of the durable resin plastics produced there.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1922 – Present
  • Location: North Tonawanda, New York
  • Production: Plastic moldings, resin products
  • Asbestos Trust: No

Like many resin manufacturers, Durez Plastics used fillers, including asbestos, to bind plastics. The company also used asbestos-containing materials throughout its New York factory.

Manufacturing companies, like other asbestos companies, often used the mineral to insulate high-heat equipment, like steam pipes, boilers and chemical lines. This use of the mineral can lead to asbestos exposure.

In 1955, Hooker Chemical Corp. purchased Durez Plastics and continued production in the North Tonawanda factory. In 1968, Occidental Petroleum purchased Hooker Chemical Corp. and the North Tonawanda factory. It operated the facility under the name Occidental Chemical. The United States started implementing asbestos regulations in the 1970s with acts like the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 1976. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partially banned the use of asbestos in 1989. However, asbestos contact can still occur without a full ban. As a result, Durez Plastics and its parent companies faced asbestos lawsuits.

The original Durez Plastics plant was closed and finally demolished in 1997. Sumitomo Bakelite Group Ltd. now owns Durez Corporation, with plants in Kenton, Ohio, and Niagara Falls, New York. These facilities produce abrasives, adhesives, resins and rubber.

02. Asbestos Products

Durez Plastics Asbestos Products

Durez Plastics made various products for different industries. Some products included parts for automobiles, electrical appliances and more. Phenol-formaldehyde resins, like those produced by Durez, were first developed in 1909. To reinforce these products, companies added asbestos to them.

Some asbestos products Durez Plastics made or used include:

03. Occupational Exposure

Durez Plastics and Occupational Exposure

Occupational asbestos exposure occurs when a person works with asbestos or comes in contact with it on the job. Many companies in the plastics industry used the mineral because it is heat-resistant and durable. Durez Plastics often added asbestos to its plastic products, like molding compounds.

Some workers mixed raw asbestos into the polymer blend. Other workers molded the mixture into plastic materials or packaged the finished products. As a result, many people experienced asbestos exposure while working for Durez Plastics.

These workers may have carried the asbestos fibers home on their clothing, leading to secondary asbestos exposure. This type of exposure happens when someone working with asbestos unknowingly brings it home on their personal belongings. Family members may then breathe in or ingest the fibers.

Occupations Impacted by Durez Plastics’ Asbestos Use
  • Compounding engineers
  • Industrial maintenance mechanics
  • Industrial workers
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Logistics specialists
  • Machine operators
  • Maintenance technicians
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Material handlers
  • Operations managers
  • Plant managers
  • Plastic fabricators
  • Plastic molders
  • Process technicians
  • Product designers
  • Production associates
  • Utility operators
  • Warehouse associates
  • Welders
04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against Durez Plastics

Durez Plastics has faced mesothelioma lawsuits that have resulted in settlements and verdicts for victims. Experienced asbestos attorneys have helped victims win successful cases. The compensation amounts from these cases have totaled millions of dollars.

In one case, a 53-year-old electrician filed a lawsuit against Durez Plastics’ then-parent company, Hooker Chemical. The electrician won $1.7 million. In another case, a 65-year-old victim received $1 million.

Anyone diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness should contact a national asbestos law firm. The experienced attorneys at these law firms can help victims understand their legal options. They will look into victims’ exposure history, such as any use of Durez Plastics’ asbestos products, and help build their asbestos claims.