Resources for Patients and their Families

Rapid American / Philip Carey Manufacturing Co.

The Rapid American Company is entangled with the Phillip Carey Manufacturing Company when it comes to their involvement with asbestos litigation. Phillip Carey Manufacturing was a producer of insulation materials for boilers, pipes and other industrial equipment. They worked with the Quebec Asbestos Mining Company to obtain the asbestos they needed to create their products. Asbestos was used primarily because of its ability to endure colossal temperatures and even resist and contain fires. It wasn't until the 1970's that scientists declared it to be a toxic material that was unsafe for human contact. Exposure to the material often results in respiratory diseases and mesothelioma, a type of asbestos cancer. Combined with a smoking history, the risk of developing the disease is even greater. Since the time when asbestos was introduced to the American Industrial scene until it was banned, thousands of people lost their lives because of this hazardous material.

The mesothelioma latency period can be quite long (up to forty years). This means that the disease is sometimes not diagnosed until it has reached very advanced stages. As a result, the various treatment options can help improve quality of life but do not often lead to a remission of mesothelioma cancer. There are a number of mesothelioma clinics throughout the U.S. that offer quality treatment. Chemotherapy with Alimta®, Onconase and Navelbine or surgery involving mesothelioma pleurocentesis, pleurodesis or pneumonectomy are common treatment options used. Our mesothelioma treatment guide and helpful mesothelioma resources page provide more information about treating the disease.

The Phillip Carey Manufacturing Company was restructured in 1967, and the company became a subsidiary of Rapid American. This occurred after asbestos was found to be dangerous, and Phillip Carey had already stopped using it in all of their products. However, as people began to link their illnesses to the products that contained asbestos, Rapid American suddenly became liable for the personal injury claims, even though that company had never actually manufactured any items that contained the toxic substance.

While all of this was happening, another division of Phillip Carey became known as Celotex, and this company was also linked to the production of items containing asbestos. Celotex temporarily became the sole company to deal with the asbestos claims, and they fought savagely against making any payments. The company attempted to offer small settlements for cases they could not get rid of, but most of the plaintiff's refused the low cash amounts that were suggested. By 1990, Celotex had lost its steam and declared bankruptcy.

With Celotex out of the picture, all of the lawsuits fell directly on The Rapid American company. A trust fund was established during the Celotex bankruptcy procedure, but funds were extremely limited. Many of the claims are still unsettled at this time, and the future of Rapid American remains uncertain.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari