Koch Industries Puts Bestwall Unit, A Small Player In Asbestos, In Bankruptcy

Koch Industries has put a division of its Georgia-Pacific unit in Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to stem a rising tide of lawsuits by mesothelioma victims who attribute their disease to asbestos-containing drywall compound.

Georgia-Pacific’s Bestwall business manufactured the joint compound, commonly known as “mud,” with chrysotile asbestos fibers until 1977. In a court filing explaining the reasons for its Chapter 11 filing, Bestwall said joint compound in total never amounted to more than 1.5 percent of asbestos-containing products sold in the U.S., yet the company is now named in 70-80 percent of all lawsuits over mesothelioma, a cancer that can be caused by asbestos exposure.