Asbestos in Textured Coatings Exposure and Risks

Textured coatings were commonly used in ornamental finishes on ceilings and walls. While known by a variety of trade names, ‘Artex’ is one of the most well-known. Textured coatings were widely used from the 1950s until the 1980s. Asbestos was often added to the coating mix because it was durable, cost-effective and heat-resistant, but it also poses serious health risks when inhaled.

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Asbestos in Textured Coatings Explained

Textured coatings were used in houses from the 1950’s onwards, but they became particularly fashionable in the 1970s and 1980s as a decorative finish on walls and ceilings. At its peak in the 1970s, asbestos was used in the construction of most buildings, and this use extended to finishings such as Artex because it was readily available and cheap to use.

Nowadays we understand the dangers of asbestos, and while the substance is not officially banned in the U.S., there are laws in place to ensure that a product does not contain over a specific amount of asbestos per cubic centimeter. In the U.K., however, asbestos has been banned since 1999, yet historic asbestos in older buildings remains today.

People are advised to contact an asbestos professional if they find textured coating in a home that was built before the year 2000, as it may contain remnants of asbestos.

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Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Textured Coatings?

Asbestos was added to textured coatings as a wet mixture, which means that those working with the material in its raw form would not be at considerable risk of inhaling asbestos fibers. When asbestos is in-tact or wet, the fibers cannot become airborne and, therefore, pose less of a threat to human health.

Friable Asbestos in Texture Coatings

Health risks increase when asbestos in textured coatings dries out and becomes old and brittle. These “friable” fibers can easily become airborne and risk being inhaled by nearby workers.

Those at the greatest health risk from asbestos in textured coatings are workers remodeling or demolishing older buildings. These workers must wear protective clothing and face masks to limit their exposure.

Many contractors or maintenance workers may have come into contact with asbestos through textured coatings by accident. Those drilling holes through Artex-covered ceilings, installing new fittings or merely painting textured coatings may be at risk. This puts homeowners at risk too, as they may perform household DIY projects without realizing the dangers.

Studies of Asbestos Exposure from Textured Coatings

In 2006, the U.K.s’ Health and Safety Executive tightened asbestos controls by reducing its limit to 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter. They removed Artex from the list because research found that the level of asbestos fibers in textured coatings did not exceed the new proposed control limit. Therefore, it wasn’t considered a danger to human health.

However, a more recent study in 2016 looked at patients with asbestos-caused lung cancer that occurred through exposure from textured ceilings. It concluded that Artex ceilings were a possible source of asbestos exposure. The study found that lung cancer and mesothelioma could develop even with low-dose exposure and that lower concentrations did not mean a lower health risk.

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Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages are available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Mesothelioma patients exposed asbestos in textured coatings may qualify.

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Health Risks of Asbestos in Textured Coatings

Asbestos is a natural mineral that, once disturbed, becomes a hazardous substance. When the microscopic particles become airborne, the needle-like fibers are easily inhaled and attach themselves to the lining of major organs.

Inhaling Asbestos Can Lead to Mesothelioma

Over time, lining cells mutate from the irritation caused by asbestos fibers. When enough cells mutate, they turn form cancerous mesothelioma tumors, which multiply and spread to distant sites.

While textured coatings don’t contain a large amount of asbestos, studies have shown that even a small amount of asbestos exposure can have detrimental effects on your health. If you believe you may have come into contact with asbestos-containing textured coatings or Artex, contact a mesothelioma specialist as soon as possible.

Seeking Justice for Mesothelioma

Many people have developed mesothelioma as a result of working with products like asbestos in textured coatings. If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have a history of working with asbestos, you may be eligible for legal compensation, including asbestos trust funds.

For more information on asbestos work sites and products and how you may have developed mesothelioma, contact our Justice Support Team. Call us at (888) 360-4215 or request our FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide to understand your next steps as a mesothelioma victim.

Author:Stephanie Kidd

Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Justice Network

Stephanie Kidd

Stephanie Kidd works tirelessly as a dedicated advocate for the vulnerable and underrepresented. Stephanie worked as a copywriter for an agency whose focus was communicating safety procedures on construction work sites. With her extensive background in victim advocacy and a dedication to seeing justice done, Stephanie works hard to ensure that all online content is reliable, truthful and helpful.

Last modified: May 22, 2019

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  5. Asbestos In Artex Surface Coatings. Retrieved from: Accessed on October 14, 2018.
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