AC&S is an insulation contracting company located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. AC & S is part of the Irex Corporation, which is a holding company for construction and contracting businesses. A holding company is an organization that owns the majority of stock of other companies or businesses, but does not manufacture the goods itself.
AC&S used asbestos copiously and provided insulation materials containing asbestos to the U.S. Navy and other organizations in the U.S. Armed Forces for over four decades.
Products manufactured by AC&S were used for many purposes in the construction of ships, including pipe insulation. Many marine laborers, including veterans of the U.S. Navy were exposed to high concentrations of airborne asbestos while on the job.
Asbestos was a popular insulation device for almost fifty years because of its unusual fire-retardant properties, simple use and the fact that it’s relatively inexpensive. Asbestos releases particles which can cause inflammation of the lungs when breathed by humans. Pulmonary inflammation can lead to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs. Another illness commonly caused by asbestos exposure is asbestosis, sometimes called fibrosis. Asbestosis is progressive and the symptoms often do not become apparent for a decade or longer. The tough, rigid scars cause the lungs to thicken and this causes breathing difficulties, tightness of the chest, a chronic cough and partial oxygen deprivation. There is no cure for Asbestosis, and it can lead to heart failure and death.
Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases have impacted hundreds, even thousands of people in the marine industry due to the continued use of materials containing asbestos. AC&S was made aware of the hazards of asbestos poisoning, but continued its use of asbestos for almost 40 years after becoming knowledgeable of the perils of the toxin.
In 1977, the United States government issued guidelines for asbestos use and removal, and at that time, AC&S stopped using asbestos in their products. Unfortunately, it was too late for thousands of Navy veterans and shipyard workers who were exposed to and sickened by the company’s products.