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Kewaunee Scientific Corporation

Expert Fact Checked

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Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Kewaunee Scientific Corporation makes laboratory furniture. Before 1985, its fume hoods had asbestos panels. Students, teachers and others used these hoods in lab settings. The panels put users at risk of asbestos exposure and illness. Asbestos victims continue to file lawsuits against the company.


01. History of Asbestos Use

Kewaunee Scientific Corporation History of Asbestos Use

Kewaunee Scientific Corporation lined its fume hoods with asbestos cement panels. The company sold its products to school, government and industrial laboratories. Lab technicians, students and others used these fume hoods to conduct scientific experiments.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1906 – Present
  • Location: Statesville, North Carolina
  • Production: Laboratory furniture
  • Asbestos Trust: No

Kewaunee Scientific has been in the laboratory furniture business for over a century. The company struggled during its early years. After World War II, sales dramatically increased.

Around this time, it entered into an agreement to provide Fisher Scientific with a line of metal laboratory furniture to be sold under the Fisher Scientific brand name. This company, now known as Thermo Fisher Scientific, also made a variety of asbestos lab products.

In 1967, the company changed its name from Kewaunee Manufacturing Company to Kewaunee Scientific Equipment Corporation. It continued to expand its product offerings and open new facilities.

According to Kewaunee Scientific, fume hoods made by the company before 1985 may contain asbestos. During the 1980s, the dangers of asbestos exposure became widely known. Kewaunee Scientific is just one of many businesses that ceased using the mineral in its products.

In 1986, the company adopted its current name. Kewaunee Scientific continues to operate today. It reported almost $220 million in sales in 2023.

02. Asbestos Products

Kewaunee Scientific Corporation Asbestos Products

Kewaunee Scientific made fume hoods with asbestos cement panels. People may also hear these components referred to as “asbestos cement linings” or “transite panels.” Until the 1980s, many companies used asbestos in their products because of its strength and heat resistance.

Asbestos cement was often made with chrysotile asbestos, which resists corrosion. Fume hoods are designed to vent corrosive chemicals. This made asbestos a useful addition to the product.

Fume hoods control hazardous air flow in laboratory settings. They exist separately from HVAC systems and do not recirculate air into the rest of a building. They function similarly to a cooking stove vent hood.

Fume hoods manufactured by Kewaunee Scientific between 1945 and 1968 may have a Fisher Scientific label. During this period, Thermo Fisher Scientific sold Kewaunee Scientific lab furniture under its own brand name.

Kewaunee Scientific may have produced other asbestos products besides fume hoods. Asbestos lawyers are experts at identifying products that contain this dangerous mineral. They can determine if mesothelioma patients may have experienced exposure from specific products.

03. Occupational Exposure

Kewaunee Scientific Corporation and Occupational Exposure

Kewaunee Scientific asbestos products may have led to occupational exposure. Manufacturers, installers and end users may have been at risk. Workers may have used the company’s fume hoods in places with laboratories, like schools and hospitals. Some labs could still have fume hoods made before 1985, which may contain asbestos cement panels.

Government facilities with research laboratories may have used Kewaunee Scientific fume hoods. Asbestos was common throughout the military during much of the 20th century. Veterans and others may have used asbestos fume hoods in military research facilities.

Workers, students and others exposed to asbestos from lab equipment may develop asbestos cancers, like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Occupations Impacted by Kewaunee Scientific Corporation’s Asbestos Use

04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against Kewaunee Scientific Corporation

Companies like Kewaunee Scientific face legal action for exposing people to asbestos. Mesothelioma patients and family members may file lawsuits to seek compensation from asbestos companies. Asbestos attorneys can help victims figure out if a Kewaunee Scientific product may have led to exposure.

Several asbestos victims have filed lawsuits against Kewaunee Scientific. Successful lawsuits may result in mesothelioma settlements or verdicts. Mesothelioma settlements average between $1 and $1.4 million, and verdicts average $2.4 million.

Patients and their families can reach out to mesothelioma law firms to discuss legal options. Experienced mesothelioma attorneys can handle filing and litigating asbestos lawsuits. Veterans may also be eligible for monthly benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.