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Masonry Cement

Asbestos in Masonry Cement

The term "masonry cement" refers to a specific type of cement that contains additives that increase the cement’s binding strength. Although unsuitable for use with concrete blocks, masonry cement is very useful in the construction of walls using brick, cinder block, and stone. Prior to the U.S. government’s ban on most forms of asbestos in 1980, asbestos fibers were a key additive used in this type of cement.

For many years asbestos was a common ingredient in masonry cement and other concrete and cement products because it was inexpensive, easy to use and provided a great deal of tensile strength and heat resistance to the finished product. Over 95% of the asbestos fiber used in this manner was of the "white" variety, also known as chrysotile asbestos. It is less harmful than other types of asbestos, but can still cause serious respiratory problems, such as asbestosis and pleural plaques.

Masons and bricklayers are among those construction workers at high risk for asbestos exposure from masonry cement, as are demolition workers whose duties require handling of old fire brick and similar materials.

Masonry Cement Products Containing Asbestos

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

Product Name Start Year End Year
Kaiser Gypsum Masonry Cement 1973
Mobil Oil Dum-Dum Masonic Cement 1964 1979

Hazards Associated with Asbestos Masonry Cement Products

Chrysotile asbestos, which was used in most masonry cement products, is a relatively soft variety derived from a stone called serpentine. Although outlawed in many countries, chrysotile is still mined in Canada, China and Russia and used widely throughout the developing world. The other main type of asbestos is amphibole. The commercial varieties of amphibole asbestos are amosite ("brown") and crocidolite ("blue"). These deadly fibers, most of which were imported from South Africa and Australia, are known to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. Anyone who worked with bonding cement should be aware of the potential for asbestos exposure, and should let their health care provider know about this risk factor.

Learn More about Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injury

Unlike other forms of cancer which may have many causes, there is only one known principal cause of mesothelioma: asbestos exposure. The manufacturers of many asbestos-containing products knew that their products contained asbestos and knew that the fiber poses major health risks to those exposed to it, but continued to sell their products until forced to stop by the government. We have created a mesothelioma treatment guide and information packet to provide asbestos victims with information on their legal and medical choices, including a list of mesothelioma clinics. To receive your free copy of this mesothelioma information, simply fill in the form on this page and we will rush your free copy to you right away.

Sources

Sources

Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)

N/A. "What Is Masonry Cement?" WiseGeek
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-masonry-cement.htm Retrieved 08 December 2010.

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