Joint cement is also commonly known as "wallboard joint cement.” This substance may also be labeled as mud, drywall mud, or tape joint compound. Joint cement is an adhesive used primarily for attaching the joint tape that is placed over the seams between sheets of gypsum wallboard. It is also used to conceal nail and screw heads and to provide a smooth, absorbent surface for the application of paint.
Before asbestos was banned for most applications in the United States, asbestos fibers were added to joint cement in order to improve the working texture of the cement. In a 2000 report, the Washington State Department of Labor observed that the amount of asbestos contained in old joint cement may be as much as 5% by weight. The report found that during remodeling or demolition which does not involve sanding, grinding, or abrading the wall surface, joint cement usually remains intact.
The use of asbestos in building materials has been severely restricted since the 1980s and is banned for most applications. However, some brands may still contain up to 1% asbestos fibers by weight. The type of asbestos used is most likely to be chrysotile, or "white" asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos is thought to be somewhat less dangerous than amphibole asbestos (the "blue" or "brown" varieties), which is banned outright in most of the world, including the U.S. and Canada.
Chrysotile asbestos still poses a danger to human health, however, and even if old joint cement is not friable, it is important to take precautions when working around old building materials, particularly materials manufactured before 1980.
Joint Cement Products Containing Asbestos
The following partial list of joint cement products were known to contain asbestos:
|Product Name||Start Year||End Year|
|Bondex “Our Best Grade” Joint Cement|
|Bondex 100-A All Purpose Joint Cement|
|Bondex 200-B All Purpose Joint Cement|
|Bondex 500-C All Purpose Joint Cement|
|Bondex Brod Dugan Red-I-Mix Joint Cement|
|Bondex Hi & Dri Joint Cement|
|Bondex NPD SX Joint Cement|
|Bondex NPD SX Joint Cement Combination (kit with joint tape)|
|Bondex Penncraft Joint Cement|
|Bondex Penncraft Pre-Mixed Joint Cement|
|Bondex Pre-Mixed Joint Cement|
|Bondex Reardon’s All Purpose Joint Cement|
|Bondex Reardon’s Pre-Mixed Joint Cement|
|Bondex Reardon’s Ready-Mixed Joint Cement|
|Bondex Reardon’s SX Joint Cement|
|Bondex Reardon’s 500-C All Purpose Joint Cement|
|Bondex SX Joint Cement|
|Bondex Trax Joint Cement|
|Bondex Wards All Purpose Joint Cement (Ready-Mixed)|
|Flintkote Black Joint Cement||1946||1960|
|Johns Manville Chemtite Epoxy Joint Cement|
|Kelly-Moore Paco Joint Cement|
|National Gypsum All Purpose Joint Cement||1935||1976|
|National Gypsum Gold Bond Ready Mixed Joint Cement||1935||1975|
|National Gypsum Gold Bond Tri-Treatment Joint Cement|
|Rutland Fireclay Ready Mix Joint Cement|
|Synkoloid Synko Triple Duty Joint Cement and Texture||1950||1975|
Hazards Associated with Asbestos Joint Cement Products
Asbestos fibers that enter the air are easily inhaled by humans, and once this happens they generally remain in the body forever. The fibers lodge in soft tissues such as the lung and the mesothelium (a thin layer of cells which wraps internal organs), and are eventually attacked by the body’s immune system. This immune system response leads to the scarring of the tissues and the development of tumors. This process is the primary cause of diseases like asbestosis, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pleural mesothelioma.
Learn More about Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injury
Malignant mesothelioma does not occur without a cause. Nearly all cases of mesothelioma develop because of past asbestos exposure. The manufacturers of asbestos-containing products like joint cement knew that asbestos posed deadly risks, but in most cases continued to expose millions of people to these substances. If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, there are legal remedies available such as retaining a mesothelioma lawyer. We have created a free information packet with information on legal options, as well as medical information about asbestos-related conditions. To get your free copy, fill in the form on this page so we can immediately send your packet at no cost to you.Sources
Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)
Phillips, Ken. "Industrial Minerals in Arizona's Wallboard Joint Cement Industry." Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, July 1989
N/A. "Asbestos-Containing Joint Compound In Wallboard Systems." Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, 28 Dec 2000