The earliest painters were more than likely the individuals who painted within the English guilds in the 12th century. After the inception of the automobile within the U.S., few individuals took on the task of painting their homes themselves. Instead, they frequently hired painters who had particular knowledge of the techniques, compounds, and paints to accomplish the job in a professional and aesthetically pleasing manner.

Today, the professional painter has numerous responsibilities that include painting as well as area and surface preparation. These individuals are tasked with the cleaning, taping, priming, filling, patching, scraping, caulking, and sanding of surfaces before the actual painting can occur. There are numerous health risks that are connected with these jobs as many materials containing asbestos can be found in numerous commercial as well as residential buildings. When these materials become airborne, they are able to be inhaled, resulting in harmful and occasionally fatal diseases.

Asbestos and Painting

Before asbestos was widely known to be hazardous during the 1970s, many painters’ products contained compounds made from asbestos due to the fact that the mineral was highly resistant to heat and fire. It was also fairly inexpensive to make. Before the year 1978, these materials were produced and used widely in products such as joint compounds, paints, and coatings for wallcoverings, wallboards, siding, and shingles. Some silver paints have actually been known to contain as much as 7% asbestos, with 1% being the extent of permissible asbestos content today.

Although it was common to paint with asbestos-containing products in order to encapsulate the material, it is essential to take great care so as not to disturb the asbestos that may be released during the process of painting. Additionally, if preparation includes cutting, drilling, sanding, or sawing items covered with asbestos paint, it can irritate the fibers and cause the asbestos to be airborne. Therefore, painters should wear protective gear such as masks and respirators in order to prevent asbestos inhalation. Even members of a painter’s family are at risk due to second hand exposure which can occur when he or she brings home asbestos particles that have become attached to clothing, hair, or skin. Before any projects begin, it is essential to perform an assessment of the area so that proper precautions are taken. If there are asbestos-containing materials, additional steps must be taken. Professionals in the field of asbestos removal should be hired so that asbestos abatement can be completed before the continuance of the project.

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