Incorporated in 1917 as Thompson-Munro-Robbins Chemical Company, T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition creates, manufactures and distributes agricultural products and chemicals for use in various industries and on farms. The company may be best known as one of the suppliers of the notorious “Agent Orange,” an herbicide used during the Vietnam War that was later found to cause birth defects. T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition is based in New York City and is a subsidiary of Philips Electronics North America Corporation.
From 1962 to 1981, T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition ran a five-acre pesticide plant in Fresno, California; as early as 1950, other companies made pesticides on that site. During those decades, dangerous chemicals were dumped throughout the land, badly contaminating the local groundwater. The federal government added the site to the Superfund National Priorities List in 1986. Clean-up of the land took years.
T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition has been sued in numerous asbestos-related lawsuits, especially since 2002, and in 2008, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As of 2008, the company reported assets of about $78 million and $557 million in liabilities.
Products Distributed by T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition that Contained Asbestos
While T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition (also know as THAN) did not manufacture products that contained asbestos, it did distribute them. From April 1960 until June 1980, the company distributed various grades of chrysotile asbestos fibers throughout the United States on behalf of Carey-Canadian Mines, Ltd. THAN also distributed asbestos-containing laundry products and vermiculite, a mineral used in insulation and fertilizers that sometimes contained asbestos.
At the time the company was distributing these products, the health hazards associated with asbestos were not fully understood. The mineral, which grows in large deposits in nature, was widely used until the 1980s because of its inherent strength and heat-resistant properties. But with time, scientists learned that asbestos particles, once inhaled, could cause deadly respiratory diseases like asbestosis, a chronic lung disease, and mesothelioma, an inoperable type of lung cancer for which asbestos is the only know cause.
Products distributed by THAN that contained asbestos include, but are not limited to:
- Asbestos fibers (1960 – 1980, distributed for Cary-Canadian Mines, Ltd.)
- Laundry Products
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Raw asbestos fibers, like those transported by T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition on behalf of Carey-Canadian Mines, were extremely hazardous to workers’ health because they could very easily become airborne. That means that anyone who worked near these fibers – whether or not they ever touched them – could have easily inhaled cancer-causing particles. Therefore, anyone who worked at a T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition facility where asbestos products were stored, packed or shipped between 1960 and 1980 could have breathed toxic asbestos dust. That includes warehouse laborers, truck drivers, as well as miners or other workers who toiled in Carey-Canadian mines.
Unfortunately, because asbestos is known to cling to surfaces like clothing, shoes and hair, it was easy for workers to bring the substance home with them. This means their family members could have been put at risk, just by being exposed to asbestos secondhand.
Years can elapse between exposure to asbestos and the appearance of symptoms in the human body. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have come into contact with asbestos, educate yourself about risk factors today.
T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York on November 24, 2008. According to court filings that day, THAN had been named as a defendant in roughly 6,000 asbestos-related lawsuits on behalf of some 14,000 claimants. Philips Electronics, THAN’s parent company, and Elementis Chemicals, the company that had purchased THAN’s chemical business, had also been named in many of those suits, court papers said.Sources
T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition, L.L.C.
Site Overview – T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition Company Superfund
“T.H. Agriculture files for bankruptcy amid lawsuits”