Flexography is a form of the printing process which uses a flexible relief plate to allow for printing on almost any medium, inclulding plastic, film, cellophane and paper.
A flexographic printer uses a steam heated press to compress a metal (zinc or magnesium) plate into a material referred to in the flexographic industry as “matrix board.” Some “matrix boards” contained quantities of asbestos. This process creates a mold from which rubber printing plates are formed. Flexographic printers are employed by manufacturers of special paper materials which were printed in rolls via the flexographic process.
The flexographic plate making process, which started in the 1930s, is based on the use of a hard male master, usually zinc or magnesium “matrix board” (some of which contained asbestos) and flexible duplicate plate making materials. The hard male pattern is molded into the “matrix board” designed to be initially soft, then cured to become a very hard and durable material during the duplicate plate making process. After the mold properly cures, the plate maker places sheets of uncured or unvulcanized rubber on the matrix. Once the unvulcanized rubber plate material is casted or cured into matrix molds, the cured plate is then sanded to hold as tight a tolerance thickness as possible. The next step involves transporting the finished rubber plates to the printing press where they are mounted on plate cylinders by the use of a double sided adhesive. The last step in this process is printing and converting the flexible film or paper into finished product which could be plastic bags, paper bags, paper milk cartons or envelopes.
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, have gathered a vast amount of information regarding flexography and materials to which workers were exposed. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one were once employed as a flexographic printer and have been diagnosed with cancer or mesothelioma, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.