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Asbestos Exposures At Kentile Floors – Brooklyn, New York

Located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, Kentile Floors has been relegated to a footnote in history. Today, the company is mostly remembered for its large corporate sign that burst into Brooklyn’s sky for several decades. But for hundreds of individuals, Kentile offered a stable career. A major manufacturer of floor tiles, Kentile was once a dominant player in the flooring industry. As early as the 1960s, Kentile boasted a strong workforce of 400 employees at its factory along the Gowanus Canal.

The Kentile Floors Company began operations in 1898, with locations in Queens and Long Island. With slogans suggesting effortless cleaning, and promises of scratchproof tiles, Kentile became a popular brand. Families, small businesses and schools fueled the rapid growth of Kentile, and its Brooklyn operations between the 1940s and 1980s.

Throughout its history, Kentile was the preeminent manufacturer of Vinyl Asbestos Tile. As the name implies, the floor tiles were loaded with asbestos fiber. Depositions taken in and around New York City have established that the Kentile factory contained a raw fiber-dumping site where asbestos used in the manufacturing process was stored. Recently, at deposition taken in New York City in 2015, a sales agreement between Kentile Floors and Union Carbide for the continued purchase of Calidria was revealed. Calidria was a line of raw asbestos marketed and sold by the Union Carbide Corporation. It is now well known that Union Carbide would ship its asbestos fiber to Pier 39, where it would then make its way to the Kentile Factory, and into floor tiles. Although Union Carbide warned its own employees about the dangers of dust inhalation, it failed to adequately warn its customers, as well as end-users of Kentile products.

Other equipment located in the factory also contained asbestos. Products, such as pumps, valves, motors, boilers, generators, and milling machines were used in the powering of the factory, and the machines used to create Kentile products. Employees responsible for maintaining, repairing or operating this equipment may have been exposed to asbestos by handling the gaskets, packing or block installed within. Visitors to the plant, like electricians, pipefitters, boilertenders and other trades were also at risk of asbestos exposure due to the Kentile factory’s extensive use of asbestos.

Attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are skilled in identifying the unique asbestos exposures suffered at factories like Kentile Floors. Our asbestos lawyers have successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of clients who were exposed to asbestos used at the Kentile plant in Brooklyn, as well as from Kentile products. Additionally, our attorneys have decades of experience in identifying the raw asbestos suppliers who sold tons of asbestos to companies like Kentile, where asbestos was a main component of a finished product. Due to its popularity, Kentile floor products could be found almost anywhere, from churches and hotel lobbies to homes and grocery stores. Tradesmen and everyday people installed and replaced these products unaware of the dangers that the airborne dust posed.

If you or a loved one worked at the Kentile Floors factory in Brooklyn, or were exposed to asbestos from Kentile products and have developed an asbestos-related disease, please call today for a free consultation.


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