Durez Plastics (originally named General Plastics) was established in 1921 by Harry M. Dent in North Tonawanda, New York. Durez was a chemical and plastics factory that manufactured plastic molding compound, which it then sold to other manufacturing facilities. These facilities used the plastic molding compound supplied by Durez to make a wide variety of products that included hard plastic handles for irons and other small appliances, as well as a variety of automotive parts. Durez gradually grew to accommodate the growing demand for plastic molding compounds. At the North Tonawanda facility, the phenol plant was built in 1940, and in 1947, construction of the formaldehyde plant began. In 1955, the Kenton, Ohio plant was established in order to duplicate manufacturing efforts at the North Tonawanda plant. In the same year, Durez became part of the Hooker Electrochemical Company. During its peak production years, Durez was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of phenolic resin and molding compounds.
Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos the late 1970s, asbestos was commonly used as a component in plastic molding compounds, insulation, as well as a variety of additional materials. The Durez Plastics facility in Kenton, Ohio was a chemical and plastics factory that manufactured and produced plastic molding compound that contained raw asbestos fibers as a filler component. In the plastic molding process, Durez used raw asbestos to add strength and durability to its products. The plant was also heavily insulated with asbestos insulation to contain the heat from steam pipes, chemical lines, boilers and kettles. Inhaling asbestos dust and particles placed workers at risk for developing serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of an asbestos-related disease.
The Durez Kenton, Ohio plant consisted of numerous buildings, including a warehouse, laboratory, office and manufacturing buildings. Raw asbestos material was shipped into the plant by tractor trailer or by rail. Raw materials were loaded and stored in the warehouse. Workers were exposed to asbestos fibers when they handled bags of raw asbestos and when they cleaned up bags of asbestos fibers that tore while in transit. Workers were also exposed to asbestos when they dumped bags of raw fiber into the mixers; swept up asbestos fibers; and when they used an air hose to perform “blow-downs” in the compound department in order to clean the area and reduce the accumulation of dust. Workers were also exposed to asbestos while loading finished plastic molding compound into barrels and bags for shipment.
Former workers at the Kenton, Ohio Durez plant describe production areas throughout the plant as being covered with asbestos dust. Asbestos dust flew all over the vicinity of the buildings where it was used as a raw material, contaminating the workers in the buildings and anyone working in the outside areas. Workers at Durez regularly inhaled the dangerous asbestos dust and fibers without wearing protective gear and without knowing it could cause them harm.
Our attorneys have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed to while working at the Durez Kenton, Ohio plant. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one once worked at the Kenton, Ohio Durez plant and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free case evaluation.