Resources for Patients and their Families

Duct Adhesive

Once widely used in everything from adhesives to insulation, asbestos was a popular fireproofing material used in homes and commercial properties all over the United States. In the late 1970s, however, asbestos was banned after evidence linking it to a variety of dangerous diseases became indisputable. Millions of homes and buildings still have asbestos-containing materials present, however, posing an ongoing risk to human life and health.

Asbestos in Duct Adhesive

HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) systems are notorious for asbestos exposure, due to the many ACMs (Asbestos-Containing Materials) used in this aspect of building construction.

Building codes throughout the country require that duct adhesive be flame resistant. Prior to the 1980s, asbestos fiber was the material of choice for this purpose, due to its low cost and easy availability. The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission issued a blanket ban on the use of ACMs in building construction in 1977, however many of these products remained on the market for several years.

Even today, such building products may still legally contain up to 1% asbestos fiber. Friable (crumbling) duct adhesive should be encapsulated (sealed) or removed by a qualified professional.

Though available in spray-on form (such as DuctMate), the duct adhesive most often used in the assembly of HVAC systems was in the form of tape, similar to "duct tape" (despite its name, the popular silvery-grey product used to effect temporary repairs on virtually everything today has never been used to seal HVAC ductwork). Like modern duct tape, duct adhesive was manufactured with a cloth or foil backing and heavy, fire-resistant cement or adhesive compound. The purpose for using duct adhesive is to minimize the leakage of heated or cooled air though a building's climate-control system.

Duct Adhesive Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of duct adhesive products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Celotex Carey Duct Adhesive 1940 1955

Hazards Associated with Asbestos Duct Adhesive Products

Asbestos is dangerous to humans because its fibers are easily inhaled into the body, and once they are inhaled the body is unable to remove them. The fibers lodge in the soft tissues of the mesothelium, a thin layer of cells surrounding and protecting the heart, lungs, and abdominal cavity, and undergo repeated attack by the body’s immune system. These attacks eventually cause tumors to form leading to the development of asbestosis, peritoneal mesothelioma, or pleural mesothelioma.

Learn More about Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injury

Unlike many types of cancer that have many possible causes, medical science has strongly identified asbestos exposure as the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. As a result, many mesothelioma patients, with the help of a qualified attorney, seek to obtain compensation for their injury from manufacturers of the asbestos-containing materials that they were exposed to. To receive a free information packet with material on legal and medical options, including the names and locations of mesothelioma clinics, just fill in the form on this page and we will rush a copy to you at no charge.



NA. HVAC Systems – Duct Design (4th ed.) Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor's National Association, 2006.

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