Kelly-Moore Paints (San Carlos)

With headquarters in San Carlos, California, the Kelly-Moore Paint Company has been in business since 1946. Currently, the company employees more than 2,200 people and operate 168 stores throughout the western United States. The company is employee owned and is one of the largest of such companies in the country. The original business model since inception was that of working with small private contractors. Today that remains a large part of the business, though it does sell to anybody who wants it. Their product is well known for being of high quality. Operating during the middle part of the 20th century in chemicals is different than today. Back then, companies had fewer regulations in regards to maintaining healthy work places. This is due in part to the fact that many health dangers were simply unknown. Since the process often required the use of caustic chemicals, asbestos was a common material used to protect employees and equipment. The material was often used in protective gear worn by workers to prevent other dangerous chemicals from hurting them. As time progressed in the last century, citizens and employers became aware of the health hazards associated with asbestos. It is the inhalation of asbestos dust that causes diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis. As the gear they wore broke down, the employees often inhaled the particles on a daily basis. Most people who inhale the toxin won't ever develop these illnesses, but some will. Mesothelioma is a rare and fast progressing form of cancer that if left untreated can quickly spread to other parts of the body. It its initial stages, mesothelioma often affects organs like the heart and lungs. Asbestosis is a less deadly disease, but can have implications in regards to overall life expectancy. These employees are at particular risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestosis today. Though the material has long been banned, these afflictions usually don't occur until decades after initial exposure. This is part of the reason why they are so hard to diagnose. Common operating practices of commercial industries in America are the main cause for people developing these diseases. Today, many employees have a hard time remembering the materials they were exposed to on a daily basis. Ironically, the protective gear they were issued might actually be the cause of current problems.