Spackle plaster is one of several plaster products that National Gypsum and other companies made using asbestos. In fact, it was one of their most popular products. It was a special mix of spackle that was used to fill holes and cracks and other damage to the surface of sheetrock or wallboard. It was widely used during the building of homes or their renovation and in commercial buildings including offices and schools.
Manufacturers like National Gypsum stopped using asbestos in their construction products when the dangers to exposure became public in the 1970s. But people like construction workers, homeowners, and others who had been exposed as result of the spackle plaster in their homes or that they worked with on the job began to file lawsuits against the companies that made these products. Many of these people that were exposed to asbestos in spackle plaster and other products did develop serious and life-threatening diseases like mesothelioma.
While the spackle plaster is intact, it poses little danger, since the asbestos fibers are trapped within the mixture. However, as the plaster ages, cracks, and crumbles, those fibers can be released into the air where they can be breathed in. Those who suspect they have asbestos-containing spackle plaster in their homes should consult a licensed abatement contractor. The contractor may perform encapsulation, in which the material is covered and sealed to prevent the release of fibers, or removal. He or she will have the proper equipment to work with asbestos safely.