01. Asbestos Use in Cement Sheets
Why Was Asbestos Used in Cement Sheets?
In the United States, asbestos cement sheets were commonly used in building construction. The products were often used in roofing and siding.
Asbestos cement sheeting was popular because it was easier to handle than heavy cement. Asbestos also made cement sheets more durable and resistant to heat and weather conditions.
As materials age, roofing and other building materials may become weathered and damaged. This may cause asbestos cement sheets to release airborne asbestos fibers.
Asbestos Cement Sheets History at a Glance
- Years of Manufacture: 1900s – Present
- Other Names: AC sheet, fibrous cement sheet, roof sheets
- Military Use?: Army barracks, military buildings
- Places Used: Construction materials, interior walls, roofing, shingles, siding
- Asbestos Use Banned: No
- Noteworthy Brands: GAF Corporation, Johns-Manville, National Gypsum Company, Turner & Newall
Asbestos cement sheets can no longer be manufactured in the United States. However, the products are still made around the world. In some cases, asbestos sheets may be imported into the U.S.
Today, more than 90% of global asbestos use is in asbestos-cement sheets and pipes. Due to the widespread use, cement sheets may still be present in some homes and buildings. Old asbestos cement sheets may put residents and workers at risk of asbestos exposure.
Dangers of Asbestos in Cement Sheets
Residents and workers are the most at risk of exposure to asbestos sheets. In several studies, researchers documented a connection between asbestos cement workers and health risks.
For example, researchers studied 6,931 employees at an asbestos cement plant in New Orleans. The study found long-term exposure was linked to higher rates of lung cancer and mesothelioma among employees at the plant.
02. List of Asbestos Cement Sheets
Types of Asbestos Cement Sheets
A variety of asbestos cement products were used in the construction industry. These products were commonly made by mixing chrysotile asbestos fibers with cement. Workers would then mold the mixture into sheet form.
Asbestos sheets were used to strengthen roofs, walls and siding. There were various types of cement sheets made with asbestos. The two main types of asbestos sheets are:
- Asbestos flat sheets: Designed for building and home interiors
- Corrugated sheets: Designed for roofing, siding and partitioning
Who Is at Risk of Asbestos Exposure From Cement Sheets?
Carpenters, masons and other individuals who worked with asbestos sheets may have experienced occupational exposure. Individuals who made cement sheets were at a particularly high risk of exposure.
During the manufacturing process, workers often handled raw asbestos. In many cases, employees were not given protective clothing or equipment. This led to high rates of asbestos disease among cement workers and manufacturers.
Homeowners and residents may also risk exposure from asbestos construction products such as cement sheets. If asbestos sheets remain intact, they are not dangerous. However, cement products may become dangerous if workers cut into them.
During a renovation, demolition or natural disaster, asbestos sheets may become friable. Airborne asbestos may put nearby residents at risk of developing mesothelioma or another asbestos illness.
03. Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos Lawsuits, Settlements & Other Compensation
Asbestos victims may seek compensation by filing an asbestos claim or lawsuit. As part of bankruptcy proceedings, some companies have also established asbestos trust funds. Trust funds ensure current and future asbestos victims receive compensation.
For example, Celotex Corporation and National Gypsum Company are companies with established trust funds that once manufactured asbestos sheets.
Retired Electrician Awarded $80,000
Earl Giffords was diagnosed with mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos cement flat sheets. During his career, Giffords worked as an electrician alongside contractors who installed asbestos cement wallboards.
Giffords remembered working with Goldbond asbestos cement flat sheets made by National Gypsum Company. Giffords and his wife filed an asbestos lawsuit against National Gypsum Company. Giffords died before the trial concluded, but the jury awarded his wife $80,000.
04. Asbestos Sheets Removal
Safely Removing Asbestos Sheets
Asbestos cement sheets should be removed before any renovation or demolition occurs. If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed before removal, individuals nearby may risk exposure.
If asbestos materials are improperly removed, the mineral’s fibers may become airborne. Asbestos in the air creates a health risk to nearby workers and residents. If asbestos fibers are inhaled, they may embed in the lungs, chest or abdomen. Over time, this may lead to mesothelioma and other illnesses.
To avoid asbestos exposure, untrained workers and residents should not attempt to remove asbestos. Individuals should hire an abatement contractor to remove or encapsulate asbestos sheets. Asbestos abatement professionals are trained to safely remove dangerous materials.