01. Asbestos Use in Cement
Why Was Asbestos Used in Cement?
Asbestos was used in cement and concrete products to provide strength, durability and flame resistance. Asbestos cement products were produced from the early 1900s to around 1980.
Asbestos Cement History at a Glance
- Other Names: Transite, AC, plastic cement, wallboard, finishing cement, cement pipe, bonding cement, refractory cement, AC sheets, corrugated sheets
- Years of Manufacture: Early 1900s – Early 1980s
- Military Use: Barracks, boilers, military buildings, ships
- Places Used: Ceilings, flooring, furnaces, insulation, masonry, pipes, roofing, wall siding
- Asbestos Use Banned: No
- Associated Brands: Johns-Manville, Celotex Corporation, GAF Corporation, CertainTeed Corporation
Asbestos cement products are most often a mixture of chrysotile asbestos fibers and cement. These products came in many forms, including sheets, pipes and gutters.
These parts were used for several reasons. For example, one of the most common asbestos products was transite. Transite was strong, easy to handle, resistant to corrosion and had low friction. It was often used in building materials and refractory products.
Products Spotlight: Forms of Asbestos Cement
Transite Asbestos Cement Pipes
Transite pipes were used for water, sewage systems and drainage pipes. These pipes could withstand corrosion from sulfides and chemicals. These products also reduced operating costs, as water flowed smoothly through the low-friction pipes.
Asbestos Cement Sheets
Asbestos cement sheeting was durable and easier to work with than heavy concrete. It was used in roofing, building siding and other construction applications. Today, cement sheets contain fibrous cellulose instead of asbestos. However, any cement sheet produced before 1980 may contain asbestos fibers.
Government agencies began to enact asbestos regulations in the late 1970s. These regulations were created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers.
As these rules went into effect, asbestos cement use declined. Asbestos cement manufacturing in the U.S. has largely halted. However, cement products containing less than 1% asbestos may still be imported from other countries.
As a result, workers and consumers are still at risk of asbestos exposure. Exposure can lead to dangerous illnesses, including mesothelioma.
Dangers of Asbestos in Cement
Individuals exposed to asbestos cement may have developed illnesses such as asbestos lung cancer or mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure may occur during production, installation or due to product deterioration over time.
Individuals may also have experienced secondary exposure. This occurs when fibers cling to people in direct contact with the mineral, such as workers. These fibers may then be inhaled or ingested by family members at a later date.
For example, one study measured the mesothelioma cases in a small town where an asbestos cement factory operated from 1932 to 1993. Researchers identified several cases of mesothelioma in workers and their loved ones.
The researchers found:
- 147 total mesothelioma cases among factory workers, including 138 pleural mesothelioma cases and nine peritoneal mesothelioma cases
- 37 mesothelioma cases among family members of workers
- 72 mesothelioma cases among town residents
Occupational exposure is a common problem for asbestos workers. However, secondary and environmental exposure can be just as harmful. Any individual in contact with asbestos fibers may be at risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis or other diseases.
02. List of Asbestos Cement
Asbestos Cement Product List
Asbestos cement was used in a variety of products. These products were used in homes, landmarks, factories, ships and many other applications.
Asbestos cement products include:
- Bonding cement
- Cement pipe
- Finishing cement
- Fireproofing cement
- Furnace cement
- Insulating cement
- Joint cement
- Masonry cement
- Plastic cement
- Refractory cement
Many asbestos companies produced, distributed and used these asbestos cement products. Exposure to these asbestos materials could result in serious health conditions.
Companies That Produced and Used Asbestos Cement
- A.P. Green Industries
- Armstrong World Industries
- ASARCO, LLC
- Bondex International
- Celotex Corporation
- CertainTeed Corporation
- Combustion Engineering
- DAP, Inc.
- EaglePicher Technologies
- Fisher Scientific
- The Flintkote Company
- Foster Wheeler Corporation
- GAF Corporation
- Harbison-Walker Refractories Company
- Hercules Chemical Company, Inc.
- Kaiser Aluminum
- Kaiser Gypsum Company
- Keene Corporation
- M.H. Detrick Company
- National Gypsum Company
- Owens-Corning Fiberglas
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard Corporation
- Pecora Corp.
- Pittsburgh Corning
- Quigley Company
- Sid Harvey Industries, Inc.
- Synkoloid Company
- Turner & Newall
- UNARCO Industries
- U.S. Gypsum Company
- United Gilsonite Laboratories
- United States Mineral Products Company
- W.R. Grace
- Weil-McLain Company
Contact with these companies’ products, equipment and/or manufacturing plants may lead to asbestos exposure. Any amount of exposure can cause dangerous conditions, such as mesothelioma cancer.
03. Cement & Asbestos Exposure
Who Is at Risk of Asbestos Exposure From Cement?
Individuals who worked with asbestos cement may have experienced occupational asbestos exposure. One of the largest populations at risk from cement products are those who worked in manufacturing plants.
Other professionals are also at risk of asbestos exposure from cement products. As asbestos cement products begin to corrode, fibers are released into the air. These asbestos fibers can be inhaled by demolition crews, renovation professionals and building inspectors, among others.
Occupations at Risk of Exposure From Asbestos Cement
- Construction workers
- Demolition crews
- Flooring installers
- Former asbestos cement manufacturers
- Foundation contractors
- Industrial workers
- Renovation teams
- Siding installers
- Shipyard workers
Occupational exposure is not the only way to come into contact with asbestos cement debris. Besides secondary exposure for family members, the general public can also be at risk in certain situations. For example, pipe explosions or building demolition may release asbestos cement debris.
04. Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos Lawsuits, Settlements & Other Compensation
Individuals who develop asbestos-related diseases due to wrongful exposure may be eligible to file a lawsuit or claim. Taking legal action may result in compensation for the asbestos victim. Possible avenues of compensation include lawsuit verdicts, asbestos settlements and trust fund claims.
Notable asbestos cement companies with trust funds include:
- A.P. Green Industries: APG Trust
- Celotex Corporation: Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust
- Combustion Engineering: Combustion Engineering 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust
- GAF Corporation: G-I Holdings Inc. Trust
- Johns-Manville: Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust
- W.R. Grace: WRG Asbestos PI Trust
Patients can file claims directly to these trusts to gain compensation. An experienced asbestos lawyer can assist with gathering information and submitting the claim. There is more than $30 billion set aside for asbestos victims in various trusts.
However, some patients may not be eligible to file with an asbestos trust. In these cases, individuals may still choose to file a lawsuit to gain compensation.
Examples of Compensation Following Exposure to Asbestos Cement
Asbestos victims may choose to file a lawsuit to seek compensation. Lawsuits may end in a verdict or settlement. Notable lawsuit verdicts relating to asbestos cement include:
- In 2001, a San Francisco jury awarded a resident and his wife more than $2.3 million. The plaintiff worked around Johns-Manville asbestos cement transite products from the 1950s to the late 1980s. As a result, he developed asbestosis.
- In 2015, a jury awarded a plaintiff $7.5 million for his asbestos exposure and mesothelioma case. The plaintiff developed mesothelioma as a result of his work at Fritz Heating and Cooling from 1973 to 1984. The plaintiff was exposed to a variety of asbestos products in boilers and furnaces, including asbestos cement.
Successful cases like these can assist patients with medical expenses and lost wages. Asbestos attorneys can help plaintiffs choose their best option for compensation. They will also assist with filing the lawsuit and seeing it to a resolution.