Silicate Calsilite Was Produced with Asbestos to Withstand High Heat
The General Aniline and Film Corporation (GAF) was a producer of various products, including an insulating material called Silicate Calsilite. It was used to create block insulation and pipe covering goods that were required to hold up under extreme heat. The key ingredient that allowed it to do this was a mineral called asbestos, which was a natural fire retardant. This mineral was the base for hundreds of products, many of which were used to insulate machinery that operated at temperatures that would destroy most materials.
Resistance to fire helped make asbestos one of the most prized resources for decades. It was also plentiful and inexpensive to mine. Add to that the incredible strength it gave to any products that were made with it, and you'll start to see why many manufacturers referred to it as a miracle material. A discovery about asbestos, which was made nearly a century after it was put into regular use in hundreds of commodities, negated that description, and caused many to start to think of it as a nightmare material. This change of opinion was due to the realization that asbestos is highly toxic.
Asbestos Fibers Become Dangerous When Inhaled
The crystal fibers that make up asbestos can break free and become airborne with very little effort. Situations in which a worker was cutting, sanding or even just moving Silicate Calsilite could cause these fibers to loosen up and enter the air supply. Inhalation of the fibers happened on a regular basis, because they were too small to be noticeable. People who inhaled the hazardous material would be subjected to tissue scarring, difficulties with normal respiratory functions, and worst of all, a cancer called mesothelioma. Because there is no cure, the number of mesothelioma survivors is low. Doctors at mesothelioma clinics around the country, however, can identify the appropriate mesothelioma treatment by stage for patients diagnosed with the disease. A mesothelioma prognosis is generally more favorable if the diagnosis is in the early rather than the later stages of the disease. Some of the conventional treatments include mesothelioma pleurodesis, pneumonectomy, and extrapleural pneumonectomy. There are also some newer drugs that are effective in treating mesothelioma including Alimta®, Onconase and Navelbine. Our mesothelioma treatment guide offers more detailed information.
By 1972, the people at GAF had become aware of these dangers and stopped producing Silicate Calsilite. Unfortunately, by that time many people had been made sick because of it, and the company was soon faced with many lawsuits. The company attempted to manage these cases, and even participated in a group called Asbestos Claims Facility (later known as the Center for Claims Resolution), in which several manufacturers banded together to deal with the ongoing claims, but by 2001, executives opted to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. This allowed them to reorganize and become clear of the massive debt they faced. In return, a trust fund was established to provide monetary compensation to individuals who were harmed by their products.
Still A Risk
Although Silicate Calsilite has not been made for many years, some of it may still be in use. As long as the insulation is in one solid piece, it presents no danger, but by now it is brittle and likely to crack or crumble apart. Should you come across this, or any other asbestos laden goods, do not attempt to remove or disturb it any way. To do so would mean putting yourself at risk for inhaling the dangerous fibers. There are certified professionals that are trained in the proper removal and disposal of asbestos, and they must be called in to deal with these materials.
Learn More About Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one were made ill because of insulation made by GAF or any other product that contained asbestos, it is important to know what your rights are. This information, and much more, is listed in a brochure we have created for the public. Take a moment to request a copy today, and one will be sent to you at no expense.