Up until the mid 1970s, people who worked in professions where asbestos was widely used were exposed to asbestos. Military personnel who worked in and around shipyards were also exposed. Asbestos was used to make thousands of products like Gold Bond cement, manufactured and sold by the National Gypsum Company. This product was used in home and building construction and as an adhesive for installing the tiles for floors and ceilings along with many other applications.
The public eventually learned of the dangers of asbestos and its use was restricted in the 1970s. But by then thousands of people who worked with Gold Bond and other brands of asbestos-containing cement had already been exposed. Their families and friends could also have been exposed because the minute asbestos fibers may have been carried home on the workers’ clothing, hair, and shoes.
When former pipefitter Arthur J. Roehling passed away from mesothelioma, his widow Grace filed a wrongful death suit against National Gypsum, claiming that its products — including Gold Bond cement — let directly to her late husband’s illness. Though the court initially found for the defendant, in 1986 an appeals court determined that there was significant evidence to conclude that National Gypsum’s products had exposed Mr. Roehling to asbestos containing dust and was thus responsible for his death.