Drywallers are just some of those at risk for asbestos exposure at work, but why?
Older buildings' construction materials have been known to contain asbestos, including joint compounds, spackling compounds, wall texture, and acoustical ceiling spray and plaster. Asbestos was used in these products because it is insulating, fire and heat resistant, and it helped strengthen the materials.
Mixing the compounds, applying the sprays, sanding the walls, and cleaning up were risky activities for drywallers working in older homes. Many have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, like asbestosis and mesothelioma, as a result of working around the materials. What is worse is that these diseases can have a latency period of up to fifty years. Many of those who worked as drywallers forty years ago have yet to be diagnosed with a fatal disease.
Drywallers are still at risk for asbestos exposure and related diseases today, since many homes built before 1990 contain these asbestos products. Remodeling, repairs, and demolitions put drywallers at risk for asbestos exposure on the job.
Some of those diagnosed with respiratory diseases as the result of occupational asbestos exposure have been compensated for their illnesses. See our Drywaller Installers page for more information on drywallers and exposure on the job.