Anyone who has worked in construction or plumbing, even if they were performing minor renovations on their own homes, know that dry mix joint compounds provide excellent material for all different home repair jobs, such as hanging drywall or patching seams in ceiling material. The same compounds can be used to seal or finish interior walls for durability as well as decoration in the form of texturing or even sculpting. However if these products were made before 1978 then more than likely they contain asbestos fibers. The fibers provided additional strength, durability, and heat resistance to the materials.
Unfortunately, asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and can cause deadly cancers such as mesothelioma. The dry mix joint compounds released asbestos fibers into the air that was then inhaled; the fibers were then able to attach themselves to the lining of the lung, stomach, or abdomen. Over time, some individuals who had this happen to them, developed cancer around the organs.
Although many of these asbestos filled products are no longer sold and other additives used in the joint compounds, some manufacturers continued to make them through the 1970s without taking health and safety precautions with their workers. Because of this, many workers became very ill and some even died of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen.
Now there are federal laws in place that regulate how contractors can remove asbestos from commercial and home properties. All removal of asbestos in commercial and home properties is done by following very strict codes. Contractors must be licensed and are now very careful during demolition and renovation; they follow the guidelines provided to them on asbestos abatement. It is very important to wear the proper protective gear and masks when dealing with asbestos.