Foseco Inc. Company History
Cleveland-based Foseco Inc. has been active in the metals industry for more than 75 years. The company was founded by Eric Weiss in 1932 to service the growing foundry industry, which gave the company its acronym-based name (“FOundry SErvice COmpany”).
Today, Foseco is known as a global leader in foundry supplies such as filters, feeding systems, direct pours and mold coatings for products in a variety of markets, including automotive, construction and engineering casting. The company has a presence in 32 countries and runs major facilities in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, China, India, South Korea and Japan.
Foseco was acquired by Cookson Group PLC in 2008 and today operates as a part of Vesuvius, a leader in molten metal, glass and renewable energy services. Since the merger, Vesuvius employs 10,000 people and runs 70 manufacturing plants in 40 countries.
Products Manufactured by Foseco Inc. that Contained Asbestos
By the nature of the work it does, foundry equipment becomes extremely hot. Therefore, refractory products utilized in foundries in years past often contained asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral with powerful insulating and fire-resistant qualities. One of those asbestos-containing products at Foseco was the “hot top” – a metal device used with steel molds that maintained the temperature of molten steel and captured impurities as it solidified.
Hot tops had to stand up against extreme heat – temperatures hot enough to melt steel. To achieve this, they were often lined with asbestos compounds or boards, which frequently had to be removed and changed. One foundry worker testified in court that workers in hot top buildings were continually tearing out and installing asbestos boards and other materials – manufactured by Foseco – and, in the process, were constantly releasing asbestos dust into the air. This dust would cover the hot top workers, he said, and also people employed in other areas of the foundry that were downwind of the hot tops.
Those workers didn’t know it at the time, but that dust had the potential to injure them with every breath. Asbestos is comprised of tiny particles that, once inhaled into a person’s lungs, can become stuck there and make breathing difficult. Eventually, exposure to asbestos can cause deadly respiratory diseases like asbestosis, a chronic inflammation of the lungs, and mesothelioma, an inoperable form of cancer of the lungs or abdomen.
Products manufactured by Foseco that are believed to have contained asbestos include, but are not limited to:
- Hot Top Insulation (Asbestos Boards and Compounds)
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Individuals most likely to be affected by asbestos in Foseco products are furnace and smelter operators, laborers, blacksmiths, masonry workers and others who worked in foundries prior to the mid-1970s, when the federal government took steps to ban nearly all uses of the mineral. Even if a person did not work directly with Foseco’s asbestos-containing hot top products, he or she could easily have been exposed to the dust because foundries are generally not very well ventilated. In fact, a worker’s loved ones could have been exposed through secondhand exposure to dust brought home on the worker’s clothing, shoes and hair.
It wasn’t just foundry workers who were affected by asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used in a wide variety of products and industries from the late 1800s until the 1970s, and in that time the mineral had a deep and lasting effect on thousands upon thousands of people – among them construction workers, assembly line workers, miners, scientists and sailors. And because it can take decades – as long as 50 years, in some cases – for symptoms of asbestos-related diseases to show in a person’s body, many of these victims are just beginning to realize the impact of their exposure today.
Foseco’s operations in India are growing at a substantial rate. In March 2011, Foseco India reported its net profits grew by an impressive 38 percent.
In the United States, the company continues to be named as a co-defendant by numerous plaintiffs who say their health, or the health of a spouse or other family member, was damaged by exposure to asbestos in Foseco’s foundry products.Sources
Foseco – Introduction
Foseco – Glossary
Exothermic Hot Tops – Patent