1901 was the year that the Flintkote Company was established as a manufacturer of roofing materials. One of their main products was a shingle that was made out of asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral. During the next several decades, the company expanded and produced various construction materials, but their roofing products continued to be the backbone of the business.
By the 1970's, Flintkote was forced to deal with several major problems. Annual sales were down, new competition claimed a portion of the company's client base, striking workers slowed down production levels and demanded higher salaries, and the asbestos that was the cornerstone of their most popular product was proven to be a toxic material.
Research into asbestos showed that exposure to the material contributes to the destruction of the respiratory system, and leads to the onset of diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and Mesothelioma, all of which can be deadly. Mesothelioma will typically carry the worst prognosis of the three, however. Although asbestos exposure is the primary cause of the disease, smoking and mesothelioma are related. It has been shown that those people who were exposed to asbestos and have a smoking history have a greater chance of developing the cancer. There are different mesothelioma cell types including papillary mesothelioma and sarcomatoid mesothelioma. While there is no cure, there are many top quality mesothelioma clinics around the country that offer different treatment options. The most often used conventional treatments include mesothelioma pneumonectomy, pleurodesis and extrapleural pneumonectomy. For more information refer to our mesothelioma treatment guide and mesothelioma resources section.
People who get close to asbestos in any form are likely to unknowingly inhale microscopic particles that will lead to these illnesses. Flintkote stopped using this hazardous mineral in their products, but by that point thousands of people had been exposed to them and become sick. The company was soon facing a large number of personal injury lawsuits from their former customers.
Flintkote executives filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization in May of 2004. The sheer number of claims had been overwhelming, with 350,000 cases having been paid out and more than 150,000 still pending. The concept was to restructure the company, develop a trust fund to manage all claims that had not been finalized and reopen for business with a clean slate.
Claims against the company continue to be filed. The delays may be the result of recent exposure to products that have not been properly removed and disposed of, or because the effects of asbestos often take numerous years to show up. Anyone who spent time around items that contained asbestos is at risk of developing these health issues, and should notify their doctor about this matter at their earliest convenience.