Stone sheathing is used as a decorative building material on the outside of houses, much like a stone veneer. However, before the 1980’s, it was known to contain asbestos to make it strong, durable and fire-resistant. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause illnesses such as mesothelioma, an aggressive and rare form of cancer caused solely by asbestos.
Asbestos in Stone Sheathing Explained
Houses built between around 1920 until the late 1970’s were made using an extensive amount of asbestos. It was used as insulation, around pipes, in floor tiles, ceilings, etc, and it was also used in stone sheathing.
Asbestos was bound with cement and molded into a variety of building materials because it was strong, durable and resistant to fire and heat. It was also cheap and readily available, making it desirable in the construction trade.
Asbestos Stone Sheathing in Older Homes
Asbestos is only harmful to health when it becomes friable, meaning that as long as the asbestos is kept intact and sealed off, it should not be a problem. Issues arise when people renovate their homes and begin to break up the stone sheathing.
When removing stone sheathing, it tends to crack and emit dust. It’s common practice to lay a sheet of vinyl over the sheathing in order to contain the dust, as if this in inhaled, it could contain fibers of asbestos and be harmful to health.
Free Mesothelioma Justice Guide
Asbestos exposure has led to thousands of mesothelioma diagnoses. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Mesothelioma Justice Guide will help you understand your rights and know the next steps.
Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Stone Sheathing?
People who live in older homes or work on the restoration of old buildings may be at risk of coming into contact with toxic levels of asbestos. It’s almost impossible to predict how much asbestos still remains in older buildings as it was used so prevalently. In some cases, it is best to leave it in place to avoid breaking up the asbestos particles and making them friable.
When it comes to removing asbestos, it’s always best to consult an asbestos specialist or invest in quality safety equipment to avoid putting yourself at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Breaking-up stone sheathing means you will be releasing dust and potentially asbestos particles.
Risks of Mixing and Cutting Stone Sheathing
Those whose job it was to add sheathing onto houses may also be at risk too. When the sheathing was cut to size, it would create an incredibly dusty environment that could have put workers at risk. Sheath-cutters who went home in the same clothes they worked in would also risk exposing their family to asbestos through fibers getting caught on their clothes, shoes or hair.
People who created the stone sheathing mix may also have been put in contact with asbestos when mixing the cement mixture. Unless they were given face-masks and protective clothing, it is highly likely that they would have been around the harmful fibers, and could also have passed these needle-like pieces of asbestos onto other job site workers.
Access Asbestos Trust Funds
Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages are available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Mesothelioma patients exposed to asbestos in stone sheathing may qualify.
Health Risks of Asbestos in Stone Sheathing
It wasn’t until the late 1970s or early 1980’s when people began to realize the dangers of using asbestos, but despite this, it took many more years before the use of asbestos was banned. In the U.S. today, asbestos is actually still legal to use in certain quantities, despite the health warnings.
Risk of Inhaling Asbestos from Stone Sheathing
Working around asbestos in stone sheathing is dangerous, even with the right safety equipment. Asbestos fibers are so tiny that they can become unknowingly airborne and inhaled. Once they enter the body, these fibers can become attached to the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen, causing irritation to the surrounding healthy tissues.
Mesothelioma occurs when the healthy lining cells mutate into cancerous ones. Mesothelioma can take up to 50 years for symptoms to become apparent. By the time the disease is diagnosed, it has typically reached a later stage where fewer curative options are available.
All mesothelioma patients should seek treatment from a mesothelioma specialist who will be able to put them on a specialized treatment plan, unique to their case. Targeted mesothelioma treatment plans can help improve prognosis and your chance of survival.
Seeking Justice for Mesothelioma
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you worked around asbestos in stone sheathing, you may be eligible for compensation. Legal compensation options such as asbestos trust funds, help families cover the costs of treatment and other damages.
Our Justice Support Team can help answer questions about your history of asbestos exposure. Call us today at (888) 360-4215 or request a FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide for more information on where and how you may have been exposed.