Babcock & Wilcox
Babcock & Wilcox Company began in 1867 in Providence, Rhode Island, when Stephen Wilcox and George Babcock patented the ‘Babcock & Wilcox Non-Explosive Boiler.’ Their boiler proved to be the best at the time and was widely used by the federal, state and local governments. In 1902, the Babcock & Wilcox boiler was used for the first subway in New York City.
Because the Babcock & Wilcox boilers were considered the best available, the United States Navy contracted with Babcock & Wilcox almost exclusively in the Second World War. Moreover, the company quickly expanded its production to furnish boilers for other industrializing nations, such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey and Egypt.
Despite Babcock & Wilcox’s success, there is human toll that resulted from their business. The company liberally used asbestos in the production boilers and refractory products. This was done to insulate the utility and marine boilers.
As early as the 1920s, physicians recognized that exposure to asbestos caused severe sickness when asbestosis was identified by British medical journals. Illnesses, such as asbestosis and the aggressive cancer mesothelioma, are caused by exposure to asbestos. At the same time, insurance companies in the United States and Canada stopped selling life insurance to asbestos workers. Moreover, safer substitutes for most asbestos uses were known as early as the 1930s. Nevertheless, Babcock & Wilcox’s chose to protect its substantial profit margins rather than discontinue use of the mineral.
Additionally, the asbestos fibers remain in a person’s lungs for years and symptoms may not develop for decades. Thus, Babcock & Wilcox’s victims might live for decades without knowing of the deadly injury they sustained. The men and women who manufactured the products and the consumers of those products were placed in serious danger of terminal illness. Additionally, the men and women who served in the United States Navy were placed in deadly proximately to asbestos. The success of the boilers meant they became ubiquitous in factories, shipyards and refineries around the world. Accordingly, thousands of workers contracted fatal illnesses from asbestos, while Babcock & Wilcox amassed a substantial fortune.
Babcock & Wilcox filed for bankruptcy protection in 2000, due to the thousands of victims of asbestos exposure. After emerging from that process in 2006, a trust fund was created to provide compensation for those individuals who were injured by asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one has been injured by Babcock & Wilcox, it is important that you contact The Gori Law Firm immediately for more information on your rights.