Asbestos Exposure and Building Materials

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Valued for their insulating, fireproofing, and soundproofing properties, asbestos building materials have been used in U.S. construction since the 1800s. Asbestos building materials were cheap, strong, and durable – but their hidden dangers ultimately took an unthinkable toll in the form of human lives.

Asbestos Building Materials Prior to Regulation

Although the link between asbestos and serious health problems was known for centuries, the construction industry continued to use asbestos building materials in most homes, schools and commercial buildings prior to 1975. Some common uses of asbestos building materials during that period were:

  • Home insulation
  • Pipe and boiler insulation
  • Heater register tape and insulation
  • Joint compounds
  • Patching and spackling compounds
  • Fire protection panels
  • Artificial fireplace logs or ashes
  • Fuse box liners
  • Gypsum wallboard
  • Textured paints
  • Sheet vinyl or floor tiles
  • Underlayment for flooring and carpets
  • Textured acoustical ceiling
  • Roofing shingles

Regulations for Asbestos Building Materials

In the 1970s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began issuing a series of regulations to limit or, in some cases, ban the use of asbestos in building materials and other products.

The Toxic Substance Control Act of 1989 banned some asbestos building materials, including corrugated paper, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt, as well as all new uses of asbestos. Contrary to common misconception, however, asbestos-containing materials were not banned entirely, and many asbestos building materials are still in use today.

When Asbestos Building Materials Are a Problem

As long as asbestos building materials remain undisturbed, they pose no significant danger. But when asbestos building materials are torn, cracked, or otherwise damaged, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air. If those fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can become lodged in the body’s tissues, where they can lead to cancer. Thus, construction workers involved in renovating, repairing, or demolishing older buildings are especially vulnerable to hazards from asbestos building materials.

Are You Entitled to Money for Your Injuries?

If you have mesothelioma or lung cancer and a history of asbestos exposure, you may be eligible for compensation. Just remember that statutes of limitations apply, beginning the moment you were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. To protect your right to a claim, call Sokolove Law today at 1-888-360-4215.