Foseco (Cleveland)

Now owned and operated by Vesuvius, Foresco was founded early in 1932 by a man known as Eric Weiss. The business focused on the US foundry industry. Today it is renowned for being a leader in both the engineering and design aspect of manufacturing products for industrial manufacturing. With the technology boom of the last few decades, the business has seen an increase in growth and profits. During the 1960s and 1970s the company was vibrant as well. The company operated facilities in many countries on many different continents. Large scale production of equipment needed for other manufacturing purposes is a difficult and complex industry to get into. Facilities must often operate at a very large scale in order to be profitable. Oftentimes, metal equipment and other objects must be subjected to high amounts of heat within the factory itself to actual create products. Though the methods of doing this have evolved substantially, in the early and middle part of the 20th century workers were still needed to directly supervise such processes. In order to have employees in such dangerous situations, they must wear gear that is highly heat resistant. Before the health dangers of asbestos were widely recognized, it was used in gear that these employees wore. Not only can it reflect heat greatly, it is extremely hard to ignite as well. Without knowing that it could cause mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases, it was thought to be a cheap and highly effective way of protecting workers. Unfortunately, many of these people were constantly inhaling the dust from the asbestos, which would endanger their lives decades after contact. Foseco also included asbestos in some of its products to make them resistant to the extremely high heat in foundries.  Between 1962 and 1976, when Foseco discontinued its use, the company may have used up to 18 million pounds of asbestos in its Cleveland factory alone.  Though the company claims it did not know of the dangers presented by asbestos, documents found in 2002 reveal that some company officials knew that the asbestos dust that littered the factory floors could cause illnesses such as mesothelioma.