Amatex Corp. (Norristown)

Amatex Corporation, a fiberglass and textile product manufacturer is headquartered in a suburb of Philadelphia known as Norristown, PA. In business since the 1950’s, the company manufacturers both narrow products and broad woven cloth, including sleeves, gaskets and rope that can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degrees. The products Amatex manufactures include valve covers, heat pads, curtains, marine products, lagging, military cloth, insulation for heat-producing equipment such as generators and various items for the welding industry. One of the first companies to be affected by the problems of asbestos was the Amatex Corporation. They made extensive use of asbestos because they produced so much heat and fire-resistant textiles. Asbestos was readily available, inexpensive and regarded for its great insulating abilities. For those reasons it was considered an important part of the products made by Amatex Corporation. The dangers of asbestos may have been known to the officials of the Amatex Corporation, who allowed their employees to continue to work with the substance. This was almost standard procedure at the time. By the time the dangers were out in the open and well known, many workers and employees of various industries suffered asbestos exposure. Great numbers of asbestosis and mesothelioma cases have been the result among those who used the textile products or worked for the companies who made those products. Many individuals may have been affected by the products made by Amatex. Those who worked in or near the construction industry, as well as other workers and tradesmen such as plumbers, steamfitters, boilermen, shipyard workers, welders, steel workers, chemical plant workers and power plant workers. For people who demolish or renovate old buildings containing asbestos, the heat insulating products made by Amatex still present a danger, as asbestos releases fiber slivers into the air when it is disturbed. These fibers are inhaled and burrow into the lining of the heart, lungs and abdomen, where they cause the tumors associated with mesothelioma. These days, workers who must handle any product containing asbestos wear protective clothing and face masks, but before the danger was known, no protection was offered. Therefore, thousands of employees were exposed to the deadly mineral and developed asbestosis, mesothelioma, or other respiratory diseases. Because it may take years of exposure to asbestos and because the cancer itself grows so slowly, an individual may be diagnosed with these diseases long after they no longer work in or near asbestos.