Construction mastics are filler products, taking the form of putty-like pastes, used during home building and remodeling. These construction mastics have been used as adhesives and sealants under floor tiles, in ceilings, in roofing, in windows, and in walls. Many of these construction mastics contained asbestos, especially if they were manufactured before 1980.
Although most current construction companies now use mastic compounds that do not contain asbestos, the asbestos dust is still present and therefore still poses a threat, especially during demolition or renovation of older buildings. When bound up in the mastic, the asbestos poses little health risk, but the flaking or crumbling of old mastic may release asbestos fibers into the air. Because of this, anyone who is in or around these sites is at risk of serious health conditions, such as mesothelioma or other asbestos related illnesses.
Current demolition companies and asbestos abatement programs protect their workers from these serious health risks by following strict guidelines. This has not always been the case, though, and that is why many companies have been taken to court and sued because they ignored the major health risks that have been discovered due to asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer whose primary cause is exposure to asbestos. Symptoms that have been related to mesothelioma include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, a persistent cough, fluid being coughed up, pain in the abdomen or chest, difficulty swallowing or prolonged hoarseness, and significant weight loss. While there are no known cures for mesothelioma, researchers have found ways to extend the individual’s life and to help ease the symptoms of this horrible illness.