Asbestos in Putties Explained
Putty is used to fill holes in buildings or seal windows, yet this outwardly harmless substance was often mixed with asbestos for added strength and durability. Asbestos is fire and heatproof, meaning it was commonly used around doors and surfaces to protect from damage.
Asbestos was used to prolong the life of products like:
As a result, asbestos-containing putties can often be found in older factories, commercial buildings and homes.
Is Asbestos in Putties Banned?
While the dangers of asbestos were widely known from the 1980’s onwards, many companies were slow to replace asbestos with another viable substance. In Australia, for example, asbestos was still used until 2003, at which time a total ban on asbestos products was ordered.
In the U.S., there isn’t an outright ban on asbestos-based products. Many US companies have come under scrutiny for using asbestos in their products and not informing their workers, which could enable those diagnosed with mesothelioma to claim compensation.
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Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Putties?
The more a person worked with putty, the more likely the risk of asbestos exposure. Workers who made the putty themselves could have been at considerable risk of developing mesothelioma if they were not given the correct safety equipment and clothing at work.
In factories, many workers would travel home in their work clothes, which could be covered in asbestos fibers. These fibers would then enter the home and could potentially harm innocent family members.
Many different workers and other individuals could have been exposed to asbestos through putty, including:
- Maintenance workers
- Factory workers
- Family members
Renovating Homes Containing Asbestos Putties
Homeowners with houses built before 1980 may risk coming into contact with asbestos-containing putty. When people renovate their homes, one of the first places they start is on the doors and windows. Nowadays, modern windows use high-quality materials. However, before the 1980’s, a lot of doors and windows were set using asbestos-containing putty.
As putty ages, it begins to crack. Crumbling putty puts homeowners most at risk, as the decomposing materials allow friable asbestos fibers to become airborne. Once the tiny fibers are airborne, they can be inhaled and attach to the lining of the lungs. Over time, the fibers can irritate the lung linings and cause tumor-growth, which is known as mesothelioma.
Disposing of Asbestos-Containing Putties
If you are involved in renovating your home or often come into contact with old putty in the construction industry, it is essential to dispose of the putty safely.
Here are some steps you can take to eliminate the risk of inhaling asbestos:
- Restrict access to the area
- Seal doors with tape
- Use adequate lighting
- Wear protective, disposable overalls
- Use a face mask or respiratory device
- Put all asbestos waste into a sealed bag
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Health Risks of Asbestos in Putties
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma—a rare disease that can take up to 50 years to develop. Mesothelioma develops from asbestos exposure, when tiny asbestos particles in products like putty, become friable and airborne.
How Inhaling Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
Once inhaled, asbestos fibers lodge deep within the linings of lungs, damaging healthy tissues. Over time, these tissues can mutate into cancerous cells, which merge together to form mesothelioma tumors.
Early diagnosed patients may be eligible for a number of surgical options to increase life expectancy. Other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can improve quality of life. Mesothelioma has a low survival rate, yet clinical trials and studies take place continuously across the globe in the hope of one day finding a cure.
Seeking Justice for Mesothelioma
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you worked with asbestos-containing putties, you may be eligible for legal compensation. There are several legal compensation options depending on your work history and your exact diagnosis. A mesothelioma lawyer can review your case and help determine the next steps in seeking justice.