Somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 new diagnoses of mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lining of the chest or abdomen, are made each year. It is caused almost entirely by exposure to asbestos, a mineral from used in thousands of products, including putties. These clay-like materials are used to fill holes and cracks in construction material and, depending on the contents of the putty, may be used for firestopping and waterproofing, as well.
Putties have many uses in the construction of public buildings, homes, offices, and even aboard ships. Companies such as DAP, Inc., once included asbestos in these materials. When putties were made out of asbestos this meant that the people who worked in the plants that manufactured the materials and the workers who used them were exposed every day on the job, risking mesothelioma.
Over 80% of all mesothelioma cases are traceable to asbestos exposure. There were hundreds of other products used in manufacturing and in industry besides putties that were made with asbestos. During the Second World War, the naval shipyards were heavily producing ships and using asbestos putties. The demand was constant and in many cases the companies who produced asbestos products knew of the dangers of asbestos and gave little to no instruction to their employees regarding safety.