Resources for Patients and their Families

Flexitallic Gasket Company

The Flexitallic Group was established in 1912 as a producer of rubber gaskets and other sealing products. It sprung from that was founded in England during the 1800's, and is currently headquartered in of Houston, Texas.

Rubber gaskets had many industrial applications, such as in oil refining equipment. Most of the machinery that require gaskets produce large amounts of heat, so every part of the unit must be able to hold up and work properly under the high temperatures. When a remarkable mineral called asbestos was discovered, it soon displayed the ability to do just that. It was also fire resistant, making it perfect for items such as Flexitallic gaskets. The company produced the asbestos based items for years, until the mineral was found to be toxic.

Gaskets have a long life expectancy, but eventually they will start to crack and break apart. When this occurs, the asbestos inside of them would be released into the atmosphere, and bits of the material that were too small to be seen could float in the air, get attached to most any surface or be ingested by people who came across them. As the asbestos was taken internally, it would attach itself to the respiratory system of its new host and remain there. The toxic nature of the material will often lead to lung diseases or asbestos cancer, such as malignant mesothelioma, and it can be fatal. Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will develop these illnesses, but anyone who inadvertently inhales it is likely to receive internal damage as a result.

While more commonly seen in men, mesothelioma in women is not rare. In either case the disease is associated with a low survival rate and short life expectancy. Fortunately there are top doctors, like Dr. Raphael Bueno, practicing at mesothelioma clinics across the country. They offer a variety of treatment options to help with quality of life including mesothelioma immunotherapy and pneumonectomy to name just a couple. Mesothelioma remission is unlikely but a greater level of comfort can be attained through these treatments. Our mesothelioma treatment guide provides much more information on the subject in addition to our mesothelioma resources section.

During the 1990's a group of employee's from Gasket Holdings, Inc. (part of the Flexitallic family) sued the company for exposure to asbestos following the removal of some older gaskets. By this time, that company and all of its subsidiaries had been purchased by the Federal Mogul Corporation. Federal Mogul had also bought several other companies that had pending personal injury lawsuits due to their use of asbestos. By 2001, the company was forced to seek bankruptcy protection to alleviate the extreme cost from several hundred thousand claims. It took until late 2007 for the matter to be resolved, and a trust fund was created to deal with these claims. This fund would be responsible for paying off any plaintiffs who sued Flexitallic following exposure to their former line of asbestos based products.

Flexitallic is still in operation currently, and they produce gaskets as well as other sealing products. None of the items created by the company now contain any amount of asbestos.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari