Thompson-Hayward Agriculture and Nutrition Company is a chemical company that produced and distributed asbestos-containing pesticides, herbicides, laundry products and vermiculite. The company was originally based out of Missouri, with various plants and sites across North America. One of the herbicides that were produced at Thompson-Hayward chemical plants was known as ‘Agent Orange’. This highly-toxic herbicide was used as part of defoliation operations during the Vietnam War. Thompson-Hayward Agriculture and Nutrition Company sold ‘Agent Orange’ to the U.S. Military between 1965 and 1971.
The Thompson-Munro-Robbins Chemical Company was incorporated in January of 1917 in Missouri and originally produced dry pesticides. As the company expanded, its name changed to the Thompson-Hayward Chemical Company and added wet pesticides to their product line. In the 1950s, Thompson-Hayward began to manufacture wet and dry herbicides as well. These wet pesticides, wet herbicides and dry herbicides were all mixed in large vats in the open air. In 1961, the company became the Thompson-Hayward Agriculture and Nutrition Company. The Thompson-Hayward name and plants were sold to Harcros Chemicals, Inc. in 1981. Before permanently closing these sites, Harcros Chemicals used the old Thompson-Hayward plants to house industrial chemicals, pest-control supplies and dry-cleaning supplies.
The unsafe practices utilized at Thompson-Hayward plants to produce chemicals led to pesticide spills and the leakage of toxic materials. Fumes containing high levels of trichloroethane and tetrachloroethane were emitted from these plants. On-site landfills were used at many of the Thompson-Hayward Chemical plants throughout the country to dispose of the waste produced by their chemical-manufacturing processes. Pesticide-containing waste leaked out of the landfills and contaminated the groundwater used by many local communities as a source of drinking water. This contamination led many of the Thompson-Hayward sites to be designated as Superfund National Priority Sites. The Superfund National Priority Site List identifies hazardous waste sites in need of decontamination.
While the Thompson-Hayward Agriculture and Nutrition Company manufactured products containing asbestos, materials utilized in the construction of their chemical plants also used asbestos to insulate and fireproof parts that were considered at high-risk for flammability. Valves, pumps, extruders, boilers, ovens and furnaces were often coated with asbestos. Materials used to manufacture workbenches, protective clothing, flooring and ceiling tiles also contained asbestos. This information is especially pertinent to former employees of plants such as the ones owned by the Thompson-Hayward Chemical Company, as asbestos is a leading cause of mesothelioma.
- Chasan, Emily and Emery, Chelsea. (Nov 24 2008) “T H Agriculture Files for Bankruptcy Amid Lawsuits.” Retrieved on April 5, 2011 from www.forbes.com
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: Thompson Hayward Chemical Co.
- EPA: T.H. Agriculture & Nutrition Company