Cement wallboard was one of the most popular construction materials at one time. When asbestos was used in cement wallboard it made the wallboard resistant to fire and corrosion as well as an ideal insulator, making it perfect for home construction. It came in smooth sheets that were easy to install as interior walls.
Another benefit of the cement wallboard was that it was easy to cut to size. However, the workers that did the cutting, sanding, shaping, and drilling of the asbestos wallboard were exposed to asbestos fibers. Once these are fibers are swallowed or breathed in they can become embedded in the linings of the lungs and other vital organs. This can eventually result in serious asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.
Anyone who worked in construction before the 1980s was probably exposed to asbestos, if not from cement wallboard, from some other product that contained the hazardous mineral. Those who own and live in homes built during this period are not necessarily at risk. Cement wallboard is only dangerous if it deteriorates and begins to release the fibers into the air. However, damaged or broken wallboard should be considered hazardous and a licensed contractor should be contacted about possible removal.