Asbestos in Paint

Asbestos, a naturally occurring silicate material, is very harmful and exposure to the asbestos fibers can lead to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma. Asbestos is known to be found in older paints. Up until the 1980s, asbestos was a common ingredient in paints and can be found in homes that were built before the 1980s. In the early 20th century, asbestos was used in paints as a filler. It improved the technical properties of the paint, especially the paints used on bridges and shipyards. The paints used for this could contain up to 20 percent asbestos.

The EPA has stated that some of the paints that usually contained asbestos are silver paints, joint compounds, textured ceiling paints and paint patching compounds. One of the reasons asbestos was used in paints was to give dimension to walls and ceilings. Using asbestos in paints gained popularity because the asbestos fibers allowed for stability of the paint in both hot and cold temperatures and asbestos also helped paint flow smoothly. Additionally, asbestos was added to paint to help with making the color stronger, improving the opacity. This meant that less layers of paint were needed. The mineral was also very cheap, making it ideal to use. Another reason why asbestos was used was because of its heat resistant capabilities. The chemical industry referred to using asbestos in paint as a way to make the paint fireproof. Shipbuilders used asbestos in paint because it reduced sound, prevented corrosion and contained fires.

Paints that contain asbestos may be friable. Friable asbestos is asbestos that, when dry, can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure. When asbestos is friable and breaks down, it can release its fibers into the air. This is problematic because it can then be inhaled by surrounding people. After inhaling asbestos, a person is susceptible to developing an asbestos-related disease. Because of its long latency period, those who inhale these asbestos fibers may not be diagnosed with mesothelioma until decades later and may not know or be able to recall where they were exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos spray coating was frequently used to insulate the sides of buildings and roofs between the 1940s and the 1980s. Companies who manufactured textured paint include Sherwin-Williams Paint Company, Bondex International, Inc., Kelly-Moore Paint Company, U.S. Gypsum Company, W.R. Grace and Co. and Proko Industries Inc. Asbestos sprayed coatings are actually one of the most hazardous forms of asbestos-containing materials because they are extremely friable. These sprayed coatings had up to 80 percent asbestos.

If paint that contains asbestos is left untouched it is not dangerous, however it can be exposed during home renovations or when paint ages and starts to flake. It is important to know if asbestos paint is in your home and to either leave it untouched or to get it properly abated. Asbestos abatement is when asbestos fibers are released in a controlled way.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos-containing paint and has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact the Halpern Law Firm. Our dedicated attorneys are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 800-505-6000 for a free case evaluation today.


Written By Sadie Gold

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