Buffalo Acoustical was established in 1955 by Thomas George and Russell Walsh. Laborers who were employed by Buffalo Acoustical installed asbestos-containing ceiling tiles and sprayed-on acoustical insulation. Buffalo Acoustical held a franchise agreement with National Gypsum and used some of their building products. In 1968, Buffalo Acoustical merged with the Mader Corporation, a building contractor that, up until the late 1970s, applied asbestos-containing fireproofing and acoustical materials. Today the company is based in Elma, New York and is known as Mader Construction Company, Inc.

Up until the late 1970s asbestos-containing materials were widely used in the construction industry. Buffalo Acoustical applied acoustical materials throughout many buildings in Western New York. Acoustical ceiling tiles and sprayed-on acoustical materials were applied in both industrial and commercial buildings, such as the Pohlman Foundry and Kleinhans Music Hall.  Acoustical ceiling tiles were used in office and commercial buildings, including Marine Midland Center (HSBC Tower)Donovan Building, Niagara Mohawk’s offices, Tops Markets and Thruway Lanes. Many former employees of Buffalo Acoustical and the Mader Corporation have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Workers applied asbestos-containing building materials without the knowledge that asbestos could cause mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Asbestos-containing sprayed-on acoustical materials were applied to wall and/or ceiling surfaces in order to limit sound; provide fireproofing; and to provide thermal insulation. Thermacoustic was the National Gypsum trade name for the sprayed on material that was utilized by some workers of Buffalo Acoustical. Acoustical materials were applied to the ceilings and walls at Kleinhans Music Hall in order to reduce sound reverberation during performances. The same acoustical materials were also applied in the finishing department of the Pohlman Foundry in order to protect the walls from fire and damage from the manufacturing process. Acoustical materials were manufactured as a dry powder, mixed with water and sprayed onto ceiling or wall surfaces. During the application process of acoustical materials, large clouds of dust and fibers were emitted into the air of the buildings where the material was being applied. Even long after this material was applied, the smallest vibrations had the potential to dislodge fibers into the air. Inhaling dust and particles from the application of asbestos-containing acoustical materials placed workers at risk of developing serious health problems. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for the development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Acoustical (drop or suspended) ceiling tiles are commonly found in commercial and residential buildings. Prior to the late 1970’s, most acoustical ceiling tiles contained asbestos. Incorporating asbestos into ceiling tiles provided fire resistance and sound absorption.

Acoustical ceiling tiles were used in order to conceal HVAC ducts, electrical wires and plumbing. Acoustical ceiling tiles were typically suspended from wires or placed into a metal grid T-bar system that dropped about one foot below the underside of a ceiling. Some asbestos-containing ceiling tiles were merely stapled or nailed into the underside of the floor above, and others were hung by a system of interlocking panels. Regardless of the system employed, it was often necessary for laborers to cut the ceiling tiles to fit around irregular parts of the ceiling. Laborers, including carpenters, also kerfed (groove cut) tile so that ceiling tiles could properly fit into a spline or supporting members of a ceiling suspension system. Simply handling acoustical ceiling tiles produced asbestos-containing dust, and cutting or kerfing the ceiling tiles created a tremendous amount of asbestos dust that workers inhaled.

The attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products used by employees of Buffalo Acoustical and the Mader Corporation. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at Buffalo Acoustical and/or the Mader Corporation and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.