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Asbestos in Permaboard and Other Building Materials

Perma-Board is a waterproof building material that consists of a rubberized asphalt core sandwiched between two layers of material. It was used as a water barrier in foundations, concrete slabs and other structures requiring protection from moisture. Permaboard also has applications in bathrooms where tiles are installed along walls. Depending on the application, permaboard may be applied using an adhesive, or simply laid in place.

Historically, it was applied to walls and ceilings as a form of insulation not only against water, but heat as well. Permaboard was manufactured by National Gypsum and sold under the Gold Bond brand name; however, many other manufacturers of building materials had similar products.

Before the early 1980s, permaboard was an asbestos-containing material (ACM), made with up to 80% asbestos fiber by weight. This not only made the material extremely durable, it provided excellent flame resistance as well. Permaboard was commonly used in areas of buildings where flames were likely to present a hazard, such as around coal-fired furnaces, boilers and wood stoves.

Permaboard Products Containing Asbestos

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

Product Name Start Year End Year
National Gypsum Gold Bond Permaboard 1954 1981

Hazards Associated with Permaboard Products

Permaboard may be present in older structures that have not been renovated or restored since the 1980s. As long as permaboard is intact, the material does not present a serious asbestos exposure risk – though constant monitoring is highly recommended. Aging permaboard that is deteriorating or damaged should either be removed or sealed with a resin polymer. Either of these steps should be carried out by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. Builders and construction workers who regularly worked with permaboard may have been exposed to asbestos fibers when the material was cut or sanded during the installation process. Repairmen, maintenance personnel, and demolition workers were also likely to have come into contact with asbestos during the removal of the material. Airborne asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and a known cause of mesothelioma cancer.



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

N/A. "Perma-Board Protection Board Description." HAL Industries, Inc. 16 September 2004.

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