Foseco’s use of asbestos cost them millions of dollars in settlements and litigation, especially after several former workers passed away from mesothelioma. Ohio plant workers from 1961-1976 routinely removed asbestos-fibers from giant bags into machinery that stirred the carcinogenic mineral to be mixed with other materials to be utilized to coat casting cores and other materials. Inhaling carcinogenic dusts caused pulmonary disease, asbestosis, and mesotheliomas. Though officials were aware of the risks, workers had no idea of the hazards they were being forced to breathe in. Once lodged in the lungs, asbestos-dusts cause irreversible damage that frequently led to death. The company reported spending more than $5 million to settle silica-related asbestos-claims in 2006. Foundry Service Company is still facing new lawsuits being filed across the country due to asbestosis and pulmonary cancers. The Madison St. Clair Record reported in April 2018 that a former laborer filed a complaint due to lung cancer contracted during his employment, where he worked between 1962 and 2004, in conditions that involved having asbestos-fibers emanating from the products he worked with. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff wants the business held responsible due to the fact that they “failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions about the dangers of working with products containing asbestos-fibers.”
Federal government regulators have been aware since mid-1970s that asbestosis would result from working conditions such as the ones experienced at Foundry Service Company. Employers were aware of the risks they were causing to their workers but did little to protect workers and instead focused on trying to reign in their own liability by hiding the dangers from workers. Some factories took minimal safety precautions like trying to vacuum up toxic dusts or installing inadequate ventilation systems. By the mid-1970s, regulations became strict enough that many companies like Foundry stopped utilizing toxins in their production lines. However, the damage to workers was already done. It is known today that there was never any safe amount of exposure to asbestos-laden products.
Asbestosis can take a number of years to show up in x-rays, but mesotheliomas have a long latency period and can take decades more years to be diagnosed. While lung damage will sometimes be visible on x-rays within seven years of exposure, severe illness might not develop for decades. Once inhaled, the toxic dust remains in the lung lining and continues to do irreversible damage over time.