Goulds Pumps Company History
In the late 1800’s, the company won several medals around the world for their pump design and manufacture. In 1905, two Goulds Triplex pumps were installed in the New York Times building. During World War II, Goulds extra-quiet trim pump was installed in every US Navy submarine.
The 1960’s saw a 2000% increase in sales for Goulds Manufacturing. The company went global and entered the industrial pump business, manufacturing the first submersible water well pump. In 1997, the company was acquired by ITT Industries, a global engineering and manufacturing company. Goulds Pumps was integrated with ITT Industries’ fluid technology business. The merger with Goulds made ITT the largest pump manufacturing company in the world with sales increasing 35% in the first year after acquisition.
Today, Goulds Pumps remains headquartered in Seneca Falls, NY and employs over 2,600 people worldwide. They manufacture residential and commercial water and wastewater pumps. Goulds industrial pumps, controllers, and accessories are used for a variety of applications including chemical processing, pulp and paper, power generation, oil refining, gas processing, mining and mineral processing. Residential pumps and accessories are used for supplying water to homes and eliminating wastewater.
Products Manufactured by Goulds Pumps that Contained Asbestos
The pumps designed by Goulds are used in a variety of applications and must be designed to withstand high temperatures and corrosive chemicals. For several decades in the mid 20th century, the gaskets, packing materials (stuffing box packing), and valves for Goulds pumps contained asbestos. A natural mineral fiber, asbestos is not only heat and chemical resistant, it is also inexpensive and readily available. These properties made asbestos an ideal insulation material for the gaskets and packing of pumps. Pumps designed to be used for high-temperature fluids or acidic / corrosive chemicals are more likely to contain asbestos in the gaskets and packing.
Goulds pumps were on the list of products approved for use by the United States Navy. These pumps were installed on navy vessels and today, many veterans face the threat of developing mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while serving on board these ships.
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Goulds Pumps manufactures pumps for a variety of different industries including chemical processing, pulp and paper, power generation, oil refining, gas processing, and mining and mineral processing. In addition, Goulds Pumps have been used by the US military. Workers involved in the manufacture, maintenance, and repair of pumps for these various industries are most at risk for exposure to asbestos. Specific types of tradesmen most likely to be in contact with asbestos-containing pumps include plumbers, steamfitters, boiler repairmen, maintenance workers, insulators, navy and marine staff, factory workers, and HVAC workers.
When asbestos-containing gaskets and packing materials of pumps are removed or disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. It is at this point that the asbestos fibers may be inhaled and become embedded in the lung tissue. The fibers may also adhere to the clothing of the worker and once at home, others may be exposed to the asbestos as well. Prolonged exposure to these airborne asbestos fibers increases the risk of developing diseases such as mesothelioma.
Asbestos-related illness typically takes years to develop. Tradesmen who worked with asbestos-containing pumps more than 20 years ago many only now be developing signs of disease which may include chest pain and chronic cough. Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma, but early detection and treatment by an oncologist or mesothelioma specialist increases the chance of survival.
According to the 2009 ITT Annual Report, asbestos-related costs totaled $237 million in 2009. As of December 31, 2009, there were 104,679 open claims against the company due to asbestos exposure.