Asbestos in Joint Compounds
Joint compound is a plaster-like substance, typically white in color, used to seal the joints made between two sheets of drywall.
Common joint compound uses include:
- Concealing dimples made from the drilling of screws
- Fixing blemishes
- Patching and repairing damaged drywall
- Sealing holes around fixtures
- Coating an entire wall or ceiling
Joint compound came in two basic forms: traditional dry mixture and the ready-mixed product.
Between World War II and the early 1980s, asbestos was universally added to both forms of joint compound-this improved safety and made products less flammable.
Companies known to manufacture asbestos-containing joint compounds include:
- Kaiser Gypsum Company
- Kelly-Moore Paco
- National Gypsum
- United States Gypsum
The asbestos content in joint compound varied but was generally between three and six percent.
Asbestos In Joint Compound Today
After the dangers of asbestos became common knowledge, the general public and regulating bodies struggled to remove the deadly products from the market.
While many manufacturing companies attempted to find a substitute for the asbestos in their mixtures, others did nothing.
Asbestos bans did not take into account products already on the market — products like joint compound have an unlimited shelf life, and many retailers and contractors held onto asbestos-containing products long after the bans came into effect.
Modern drywall and taping compounds do not contain asbestos. In general, any joint compound used in a drywall project after the 1990s will not contain asbestos.