Georgia–Pacific Knew of Asbestos Dangers, Report Charges

Despite Disease Risks, Georgia-Pacific Continued to Use Asbestos to Keep Sales from Falling

September 20, 2002-Georgia-Pacific kept selling asbestos-containing joint compounds in the 1960's and 1970's even though its leaders knew about the serious health problems caused by asbestos, according to a recent news story (Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Patty Bond, September 15, 2002). The company also told consumers that its joint compound, Ready-Mix, was safe, when it knew that the government was about to ban such products because they were dangerous, the report said.

Georgia-Pacific began adding asbestos to Ready-Mix in 1965. That was one year after a ground-breaking study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed that insulation workers exposed to asbestos were at increased risk for developing asbestos lung cancerand asbestosis. In 1973, tests run by industry trade groups indicated that drywall workers and consumers who worked with joint compounds were subject to high levels of asbestos. While insisting that Ready-Mix was safe, Georgia-Pacific worked on a substitute for asbestos in the joint compound, according to the report. When the version of Ready-Mix without asbestos did not sell very well (the texture was too thin), the company continued to market the asbestos-containing version. Georgia-Pacific did not take asbestos out of its joint compounds until 1977.

The reporter based most of her story on internal Georgia-Pacific documents obtained through the recent case of a Maryland woman, Lisa Pransky, who was exposed to asbestos dust when she was eight years old (Georgia-Pacific Corporation v. Lisa J. Pransky et al., Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 188363). At that time, Ms. Pransky's father renovated the basement of the family home, making it into a recreation room for his daughter. He nailed up drywall, taped the seams using Ready-Mix, and sanded the compound. He also applied Ready-Mix to the ceiling.

Because she often watched her father work in the basement, Ms. Pransky was exposed to asbestos dust created by sanding. She also came into contact with asbestos dust picked up by the ventilation system and scattered throughout the house. Ms. Pransky died of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, when she was only 34 years old. Her case is an example of a consumer's secondary asbestos exposure, since she never directly worked with the substance.

Asbestos Exposure and Your Legal Rights

For related information about the potential effects of asbestos exposure, please visit:

  • Risk Factors for Asbestos Disease
  • Asbestos in the Home

In over 24 years of litigating asbestos cases, the asbestos attorneys at Brayton Purcell have come across other examples of secondary exposure. We have also seen cases of asbestos-related disease in consumers, handymen, and workers in various occupations. Should you have any questions about asbestos and your legal rights or those of a family member, please contact uswith your questions.