Part Three in a Series About Asbestos in Your House
Exposure to asbestos can cause scarring of the lungs and abdominal tissue, difficulty breathing, and can be the source of diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. There is no cure for mesothelioma, so take note of the following information before you tackle that fall home-remodeling project because mesothelioma is a painful cancer with no cure.
Drywall and Paneling
But if you wish to remove vintage decorative paneling and replace it with some other kind of wall surface, don’t break the sheets apart yourself. As these boards deteriorate with age, they may become very brittle. Removing them is likely to cause microscopic asbestos fibers to fly all over the room, where they will be easily breathed or ingested by anyone nearby. You can cover old wall panels with another surface treatment, so long as you don’t drill through them to secure the new wall covering. Check with your local municipality to see what is allowed in your area, and call a certified abatement professional if you want to have the old paneling taken out.
Throughout the middle of the last century, asbestos-containing wall-joint compound could be purchased at any hardware store as a pre-mixed paste in a bucket or can, or as a dry powder in a 25-pound sack or five-pound box (more typical for home use). The powder was dumped into a bucket and mixed with water to form a paste, then slathered onto the drywall seams with a trowel to join the gypsum boards together. When the mud was dry, it was sanded before painting, giving the finished wall a seamless, smooth appearance from top to bottom.
Dumping that box or bag of powder into a bucket caused copious amounts of dust to rise up into the air and into the nostrils of whoever was doing the dumping, as well as those around him or her. And sanding the dried sheetrock mud also made lots of dust, as any fastidious homemaker discovered while trying to keep her house clean during a remodeling project.
Have fun spiffing up that spare room this fall. But do it safely and wisely, so that you will be around to enjoy the fruits of your labor for many seasons to come. If you have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, contact the lawyers at Baron & Budd to receive a completely confidential evaluation of your case from one of the best rated mesothelioma law firms in the country.