An affiliate of Georgia-Pacific LLC, which makes Brawny paper towels, has filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid soaring costs of defending against claims its products caused asbestos-related diseases, according to a company statement on Thursday.
The affiliate, Bestwall LLC, joins scores of U.S. manufacturers that have filed for bankruptcy due to asbestos litigation, and comes as the U.S. Congress mulls a bill that plaintiffs’ lawyers say would discourage asbestos claims.
Georgia-Pacific is unaffected by the filing and Bestwall will continue operating normally, the statement said.
Bestwall’s legal costs from asbestos have risen to an average of $160 million a year, up from $6 million a year prior to 2000, according to company filings.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once prized for its resistance to heat but its fibers can cause deadly cancers, including mesothelioma, and leads to thousands of U.S. deaths annually, according to government statistics.
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