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HomeAsbestos ExposureAsbestos CompaniesUnited Gilsonite Laboratories

Founded in 1932, United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL) manufactures more than 80 paints, coatings and sealants sold by 15,000 distributors in the United States and abroad — generally hardware stores, home centers, paint stores and lumberyards.

Today, UGL’s flagship product lines are Drylok, a waterproofing compound, and Zar, a wood finish. The company is headquartered in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, and it also runs manufacturing plants in Mississippi, Nevada and Illinois. In 2010, UGL recorded sales of $49 million.

Asbestos Containing Products Manufactured by United Gilsonite Laboratories

For much of the 20th century, asbestos was a frequent additive in home-building supplies such as sealants, paints and compounds. Manufacturers turned to asbestos mainly because it was an excellent fireproofing agent, but also because it was strong, flexible, easily accessible and inexpensive. Thousands of products, from engine parts to oven mitts, contained the cancer-causing material, and countless people were exposed to it. Until the 1970s, several of UGL’s home-building and –repair products were made with asbestos.

  • UGL Joint Cement — Among UGL’s product line was an asbestos-containing joint compound, a cement-like adhesive used to conceal nail and screw heads and smooth the connection between two pieces of wallboard. The product, which was manufactured from 1954 to 1975, was a product for home use sold primarily in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. It is unlikely that UGL Joint Cement was transported to the west coast, but it may have been used as far away as the Midwest or Southeastern states.
  • UGL Asbestos Furnace Cement — Furnace cement is another type of joint compound designed for use in stoves, fireboxes, kilns, refractories, and other high-heat places. Furnace cements were designed to resist flames and to stand up to oil, coal and other combustible fuels — up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Asbestos was used because it could withstand these extreme conditions.

United Gilsonite Laboratories Products

Product Manufacturer Years Made
UGL Joint Compound United Gilsonite Laboratories 1954-75
UGL Asbestos Furnace Cement United Gilsonite Laboratories

Asbestos Exposure from United Gilsonite Products and Mesothelioma

UGL’s asbestos compounds and cements were not terribly dangerous in their liquid or putty form; the real danger was when the dried product was sanded, grinded down, or pulled apart during demolition. When this occurred, millions of tiny asbestos fibers were sent into the air, where they could be inhaled by anyone who came into contact with them.

Unless they were wearing protective gear, those individuals — including construction workers, homeowners who undertook home-improvement projects, and their family members — are at risk for developing respiratory diseases, including the asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma. If you used United Gilsonite’s asbestos products before the mid-1970s, you could be at risk for an asbestos-related disease, even if you have not yet shown symptoms, because of mesothelioma’s lengthy latency period.

United Gilsonite Bankruptcy and Asbestos Lawsuits

UGL has been handed numerous lawsuits from people who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease or who have lost a loved one after exposure to the company’s products. The company and its insurers paid more than $25 million in asbestos-related claims before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2011, the company’s president said in court documents. At that time, 900 asbestos-related claims were pending against UGL; in New York State alone, 350 claims had been filed.

UGL’s bankruptcy reorganization plan called for the creation of a trust fund to settle outstanding claims. In October 2012, the company announced it would contribute $11.75 million to the fund. If your health or the health of a loved one has been compromised by UGL’s products, a mesothelioma lawyer can help you file a claim. Simply fill out the form on this page for more information.

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