Asbestos-related litigation has caused the W.R. Grace & Co to downsize dramatically and to file bankruptcy. Questions about how adequately the company tried to protect employee health at its mines and processing plants, and whether it lied to customers about the asbestos content of its top-selling fireproofing sprays remain.
After asbestos-based products became banned, Grace claimed that its Monokote products were asbestos-free. Sales went up and company dominated the market with its products for some time. But Grace allegedly knew that Monokote contained low levels of the asbestos fiber known as tremolite. The company nevertheless called the sprays "completely asbestos-free" and instructed its employees to call them "non-asbestos products."
No lawsuits over Monokote have been filed yet, and it remains an open question as to how much risk Monokote had posed to construction workers who sprayed it on new buildings, said the company. But it is probably only a matter of time before ailing construction workers bring their claims and force W.R. Grace to the courtroom.