Plasterers and Asbestos Exposure
Plasterers are craftsmen and women who apply plaster, stucco, or other similar materials to building interiors or exteriors. Unfortunately, their work may put them in direct contact with asbestos, a cancer-causing material.
Plaster is made up of 3 materials:
- A cement
- A fiber
- An aggregate
When combined using the right amounts, these 3 substances create plaster, which can be used to hold brick, stone, and other materials together.
The cement is typically comprised of gypsum or lime, while the aggregate is sand, mica, or pumices. Historically, fibers came from animals like pigs and cattle but were replaced with asbestos in the 1920s.
Asbestos has many qualities that hair doesn’t share, including soundproofing, fireproofing, water-resistance, and durability, making it a more desirable ingredient for construction projects.
Plasterers Faced Daily Exposure
It took another 50 years for the dangers of asbestos to become known, long after asbestos was established as a common ingredient in plaster. In that time, many plasterers worked with asbestos-containing plaster for hours per day, every single day, routinely exposing them to the dangerous substance.
In fact, plasterers are exposed to asbestos every time they work with it or around it. Dry forms of asbestos are more likely to become airborne and present a health risk to plasterers.
Mixing dry plaster or cutting into dried plaster can release asbestos fibers into the air. Other construction workers may also disrupt asbestos during their work with other asbestos-containing materials, such as insulation, accidentally exposing workers.
Even today, some plaster workers may come into contact with asbestos when they work on older homes. It’s critical that plaster workers take precautions whenever they are cutting, sanding, removing, or disrupting asbestos-containing materials in homes built before the mid to late 1980s.
Exposure to asbestos 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.