Based out of Houston, Texas, Union Carbide was a chemical manufacturing company with an extensive past with asbestos use. In fact, the amount of people who were injured due to Union Carbide’s asbestos-containing products made the company one of the most well-known businesses for asbestos litigation. Although the company never filed for bankruptcy, it faced and continues to face a myriad of asbestos-related lawsuits.
If you suffer from asbestosis, mesothelioma, or asbestos-related lung cancer, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
Union Carbide History
Established in November, 1917, Union Carbide began as merger between several different companies, including Prest-O-Lite, Linde Air Products, and Electro Metallurgical. Within a few years, the company began manufacturing chemical products, and in turn, acquired numerous chemical companies and opened an ethylene plant.
Throughout the next 40 years, Union Carbide continue expand substantially. During World War II, the company began manufacturing raw materials and developing plastics. It was also during this time that the company began mining uranium ore. It went on to open several uranium ore plants.
Up until 1972, Union Carbide sold mass amounts of asbestos to other businesses. The company mined chrysotile asbestos from New Idria, California, and marketed it under the name “Calidria.” The fibers were then sold in mass amounts to other companies to be used in joint compounds, drywall, and for numerous other purposes.
When workers started developing asbestos-related illnesses due to Union Carbide’s products, a plethora of asbestos-related lawsuits soon followed.
Union Carbide Bankruptcy and Lawsuits
Although Union Carbide never made or sold asbestos-containing products, it did, as mentioned earlier, sell the toxic fibers to other companies. In turn, Union Carbide was liable for numerous asbestos-related lawsuits filed by those who developed life-threatening diseased.
Unlike many companies that faced thousands of lawsuits, Union Carbide never filed for bankruptcy protection nor set up an asbestos trust fund to help pay off the mounting claims. This led to the company losing millions in lawsuits.
For more than 40 years, Union Carbide has been facing mesothelioma lawsuits. In a recent 2014 trial, a California jury awarded plaintiff Bobbie Izell in an asbestos-related lawsuit against the company $18 million. According to court documents, the jury found that Union Carbide caused “reprehensible indifference to the health and safety of others” after reviewing a series of documents that indicate that the company was well-aware of the dangers of asbestos, yet continued to place workers at risk for year.
“[A]s Union Carbide acknowledged, had it warned of the known risk of cancer, the result may have been ‘fatal’ for its asbestos business, but it also likely would have prevented Mr. Izell from being exposed to its dangerous product.”
Hawks Nest Tunnel
Not only did Union Carbide expose thousands of people to asbestos, but between 1927-1932, numerous workers were also exposed to silica while mining West Virginia’s Hawks Nest Tunnel (under the direction of Union Carbide). The company failed to provide any of the workers with any protective gear as they worked in the mines. A total of 406 workers died, mostly due to developing silicosis, a fatal lung disease caused by ingesting silica dust.
The devastating tragedy prompted legislation to take notice of the dangers of silica and enforce new laws to help protect workers in the future.
Bhopal, India and the Union Carbide Disaster
In 1984, Union Carbide was in the hot seat once again after its plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, released gas and injured more than 500,000 people. Over 3,7000 of those people died and at least 40,000 were disabled for life. For its negligence, Union Carbide was ordered by the Indian Supreme Court to pay $470 million, in 1989.
Union Carbide Today
In 2001, the Dow Chemical Company bought Union Carbide for an estimated $11.6 billion. Prior to the purchase, Union Carbide sold off a few of its businesses, leaving Dow Chemical with its electronic chemicals, gasses, polyurethane, and carbon products.
Resources and Help for Asbestos Victims
Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.