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Weyerhaeuser in 2,416 Asbestos Claims

Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser Co. on Tuesday said it is named as a defendant in 2,416 asbestos claims but does not expect these to have a material impact on its finances. A spokesman for the Federal Way, Washington-based company said 1,429 of the claims were filed by sailors who claim they were exposed to asbestos while serving on a Weyerhaeuser vessel during World War II.

A smaller number of claims relate to fire doors the company manufactured at a Marshfield, Wisconsin facility which has since been sold. On average, such claims have been settled for $5,800.

An explosion of asbestos-related legal claims have battered the stock prices of many well-known manufacturing names in the United States, pushing several into bankruptcy.Shares of Weyerhaeuser rival Georgia-Pacific Corp., for example, have been hammered by investor fears about its asbestos liability. Georgia-Pacific, based in Atlanta, said last week that as of Sept. 29, it had about 66,300 unresolved claims pending against it.

Asbestos was once widely used for fireproofing and insulation, but scientists concluded in the 1960s and 1970s that inhaled asbestos fibers could cause lung cancer and other diseases.

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