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Building products manufacturer USG Corp. filed for federal bankruptcy protection Monday, citing the growing costs of asbestos litigation.

The Chicago-based company's major domestic subsidiaries -- U.S. Gypsum, USG Interiors and L&W Supply Corp. -- also filed Chapter 11 petitions.

The action followed USG's warning on June 4 that it was considering the move, an announcement that sent its stock plummeting 42 percent through the end of last week. Monday's statement accelerated the sell-off. USG shares were off 15 cents to close at $3.73 on the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. Gypsum has been named in more than 250,000 asbestos-related personal injury claims since 1994 and has paid more than $450 million for litigation. The company said asbestos personal injury costs for U.S. Gypsum have increased from $100 million in 1999 to an expected $275 million this year.

USG said its operations will continue without interruption despite the bankruptcy filing.

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