Paint Manufacturing Plants and Asbestos Exposure

Paint is one of the most common products in which asbestos can be located. It is especially popular in “textured paint on ceilings and walls in houses built before 1978” as well as “patching compound used on wall and ceiling joints before 1978” as described by the Ephrata Fire Department. This industry incurs roughly $31 billion in revenue per year in the United States alone, as reported by the Painting and Coatings Industry, with over 900 paint manufacturers in the United States. This leaves substantial room for hazards and accidents to occur. Paint manufacturing plants and asbestos exposure was very common.


Working in a plant manufacturing plant presents many hazards to the employees, which calls for unique safety precautions to be taken into place. Some of the common safety concerns that occur to these individuals are chemical exposure, as individuals are working with raw materials, working at high elevations, loud noise exposure, and strenuous physical positions. While all hazards present their challenges, chemical exposure will be further investigated as asbestos is a prevalent raw material in paints.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is popular for its heat-resistant properties. The mineral contains spindle-like fibers that make it difficult to exit the body and when inhaled, can stick to the lung tissue. Additionally, the National Cancer Institute reports the material has been classified as a carcinogen which is “(a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer”.


Paint plants present unique challenges because inhaling the fumes produced is a hazard alone and this occurs throughout the entire process of creation from the “pigments, extenders, binders, solvents and additives” (Occupational Exposures in Paint Manufacture and Painting (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Volume 47, 1989), 2024). Additionally, The Paint and Coating Industry reports that the serious health problems that can arise from chemical exposure include:


· Irritation or damage to the eyes, mucous membranes, respiratory tract, digestive tract, and skin caused by the vapors of solvents, paints, lacquers, and their components.

· Nervous system damage is caused by exposure to organic substances like toluene, methyl-alcohol, and n-hexane.


However, it is also important to mention that while these are the current issues that are faced regarding chemical exposure, there was a time when asbestos was frequently used and caused more serious illnesses like mesothelioma. More specifically, asbestos was used “as a paint filler”, which aided in providing texture and grains to the paint while simultaneously not changing the color. It is also suggested that asbestos was used “in spackling and taping compounds” painters in the construction industry and shipyards may also be exposed to asbestos” (Occupational Exposures in Paint Manufacture and Painting (IARC Summary & Evaluation, Volume 47, 1989), 2024). This implies the environment that was created and represents the numerous potential areas that were impacted across the paint facility. The individuals directly working with these raw materials were most at risk of inhaling them.


Some of the companies that were found to have asbestos in their products include:

· A-Coustex

· Texture

· Imperial QT

· Adams Paint Co.

· American Seal Paints and Cements

· Carter Paint Co.

Some of the asbestos-infused products these companies produced include:

· Asbestos roof paint

· Asbestos liquid paint

· Asbestos spray paint

· Texture paint


One of the more serious challenges these workers faced was developing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that attacks the mesothelial tissue surrounding the lungs, heart, abdomen, and testicles. As mentioned previously, when asbestos is released into the air, they are easy and quick to be inhaled. Whether occurring for a long period of time or short, all amounts of asbestos inhalation are hazardous. Unfortunately for some, the damage has already been done and mesothelioma has formed. One of the difficulties of mesothelioma is its long latency period which is roughly 30-40 years. The symptoms that arise during this period can include chest pain, persistent cough, and difficulty breathing. Currently, there is no cure for the illness, and treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are available to help with the symptoms and stop the growth of cancer cells.


Some of the additional occupations (outside of paint plants) that were at risk of asbestos exposure in paint include:

· Construction workers

· Automobile painters

· Furniture finishers


Paint Manufacturing Plant workers and individuals working with asbestos-contaminated paints who have been exposed to and experienced symptoms of asbestos-related diseases could be eligible for financial compensation.

If you or someone you know has been affected by mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease in the state of Pennsylvania, please visit The Halpern Law firm for a free consultation or call 1 (800) 505-6000 to turn today’s adversity into tomorrow’s justice



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