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Bonding Cement

Asbestos in Bonding Cement and Other Adhesives

From the mid-19th century up until 1980, asbestos was a common ingredient in a wide range of building materials. Today's bonding cements typically contain fiberglass and acrylic in order to add tensile strength, but prior to the early 1980s, asbestos fibers were the most common choice: asbestos was inexpensive, easy to acquire, and added flame resistance as well as durability.

Old bonding cement may contain as much as 15% asbestos fibers. It is usually very tightly bonded into the cement itself and usually does not become friable, or release fibers, unless it is heavily damaged. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended that bonding cement applied to a structure built prior to 1980 be dealt with by a licensed professional from a reputable asbestos abatement service. Fibers that are released into the environment can result in serious injury to the respiratory system, including scarring of the inner surfaces of the lungs and chronic inflammation that may eventually lead to cancer of the lung and malignant mesothelioma.

In home and building construction, bonding cement is a substance usually applied to the joints of walls and wallboard in order to provide water resistance and durability. Some types of bonding cement, such as Quikwall®, were used for building structures from blocks without the use of mortar. Others were used for roofing and in the installation of rain gutters. Bonding cement came in cans like paint or from a tube or bottle, depending on the application for which it was to be used.

Bonding Cement Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of bonding cement products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Foster Wheeler MWI - Hi Temp Bonding Cement 1967 1968

Hazards Associated with Bonding Cement Products

Workers in manufacturing plants that produced bonding cement were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers that could be inhaled during the fabrication process. Those using bonding cement in new construction projects were probably not exposed at an unusually high level, as the asbestos fibers in the cement would not have been airborne. Demolition workers, maintenance personnel, and repair workers, however, were likely to handle old, worn-out bonding cement and the fibers in such aged material could easily be friable, meaning that even slight damage or disruption of the surrounding material could release individual fibers into the air. Airborne asbestos fibers are the principle cause of mesothelioma and other asbestos-induced diseases.



N/A "Asbestos In The Home." Mid-Sussex (UK) District Council, Environmental Protection Leaflet No. 9 (ND).

White, Amy. "How To Apply Bonding Cement to Concrete Walls." Associated Content, 20 Feb 2009.

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