International Business Machines (IBM) Binghamton was founded in 1911 in Endicott, New York, and it is one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the world. Originally called the Computing-Tabulating-Recording (CTR) Corporation, IBM was formed by the merger of four companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Corporation, and the Bundy Manufacturing Company. IBM assumed its current name in 1924 to reflect its growing presence worldwide. The Endicott, New York plant was IBM’s first manufacturing facility, and it manufactured a variety of products, including data processing machines, punch cards, printers, circuit boards, microelectronics, automated teller machines and computer components. During its peak production years, IBM Endicott employed nearly 11,000 people, and its plant consisted of over thirty buildings on thirty-nine acres of land. In 2002, IBM sold its Endicott plant to Endicott Interconnect Technologies. It continues to lease space in Endicott for research and development laboratories.
Prior to the 1970s, asbestos-containing materials were utilized at IBM Endicott’s plant as a component of dozens of materials, such as pipe covering, insulating cement, block insulation and gaskets. Workers who utilized asbestos-containing materials, or worked in the vicinity of those who did, are at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases.
Workers applied asbestos-containing pipe covering to steam pipes at the IBM Endicott plant to protect the pipes from damage and to maintain stable internal temperatures within the system. When pipe covering was cut and applied, asbestos dust and fibers were emitted. Insulating cement was also applied to pipe elbows and valves. Asbestos-containing cement was packaged as a dry powder. Prior to application, the powdered cement was mixed with water until it formed a paste. Pouring and mixing insulating cement caused asbestos fibers to become airborne. Boilers were also covered in asbestos block insulation, which was cut to fit the contours of the boiler. When workers installed block insulation, asbestos dust was released into the air and inhaled by workers.
Asbestos-containing gaskets were also used to ensure a tight seal between the flanges for steam pipes and flanges for other equipment in the steam system, such as pumps, valves or boilers. Gaskets were frequently replaced during maintenance and repairs. During the gasket replacement process, workers scraped gaskets off the flange, which caused asbestos fibers to become airborne.
In the process of representing workers and their families, we have gathered a vast amount of information on the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. 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 were once employed at IBM Endicott and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.