Painters and Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is present in many buildings that were completed before the 1980s. Anyone working as a painter during this time was in danger of developing an asbestos-related illness. Painters today can encounter asbestos hazards in older buildings or structurally compromised buildings.
Mesothelioma Justice Network Brief
The potential for painters to be exposed to asbestos manifests in a frightening number of places. In addition to being present buildings, asbestos was present in a large percentage of the products painters used and handled.
Painters’ products that contained asbestos included:
- Coatings and glosses
- Fillers and drying agents
- House siding and cement siding
- Joint or drywall compound
- Wall tile backing, panels, and coverings
Painters worked in close proximity to these asbestos-containing products and did not have sufficient safety gear to protect them from exposure. Painters working in close quarters and enclosed atmospheres with such products could have inhaled asbestos fibers many times.
Painters and Asbestos Exposure Today
Painters are still at risk of asbestos exposure today. Some painters still work in buildings or on worksites where asbestos is present. Others may be involved in asbestos abatement projects.
In cases where intact asbestos cannot safely be removed entirely, it can be sealed in to prevent it from becoming airborne. While special coatings and encapsulants are used for this purpose, painters may sometimes be required to apply paint after the asbestos has been sealed in.
In other cases, a painter may be hired to paint over asbestos roof tiles. All of this must be done with proper safety precautions. While the risk is minimized, it is still present.