A homeowner asked certified building inspector Barry Stone of California about asbestos in his popcorn ceiling. He did not realize that the ceiling texture in his home contained asbestos, and had removed it from two rooms without following asbestos safety procedures to prevent contamination. Instead, he scraped the dry ceilings and cleaned up the floor with a shop vacuum. After learning about the possible presence of asbestos in popcorn ceiling textures, the homeowner became concerned about the potential contamination of his home and the possible impact on his family’s health.
In response, Stone helped clear up some common misconceptions about asbestos and popcorn ceilings.
Has asbestos been banned in the U.S.?
Many people believe that asbestos has been banned from all products being manufactured in the United States, but this is not the case. Although asbestos has been banned from many products, it can still be found in automotive brake linings and building products such as flooring materials and roofing mastics. In fact, in 2010, the U.S. imported approximately 810 metric tons of asbestos for commercial use -90 percent of which came from Canada.
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When was asbestos banned for use in popcorn ceilings?
Many people believe that asbestos was banned from use in popcorn ceiling texture in the 1970s. In fact, the manufacturing of popcorn ceiling asbestos texture was banned in 1978, but it was still legal to install it. Installation of asbestos ceiling texture was not banned because of the financial loss it would have meant for manufacturers, suppliers and contractors who had already purchased stock of the product. Asbestos ceiling texture was still being installed in homes through the 1980s when the product stocks finally ran out.
How can I tell if my popcorn ceiling contains asbestos?
Many people believe that asbestos can be identified based on the age or physical appearance of the popcorn ceiling texture. However, asbestos fibers are microscopic, and can really only be identified by a polarized light microscope. Stone recommends that anyone who wants to remove potentially asbestos-ridden popcorn ceiling texture should have it tested by a lab.
Why should I be worried about asbestos exposure?
Asbestos exposure has been linked to horrible asbestos diseases, including deadly asbestos cancers such as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lung that is caused by asbestos exposure. While many people who are exposed to asbestos, such as through popcorn ceilings and other building materials, never develop mesothelioma, there is no “safe” level of exposure to asbestos, so when removing popcorn ceiling textures or any or material in your home that may contain asbestos, it’s essential that you have it tested and, if necessary, properly removed.
I removed some popcorn ceiling texture from my home. It may or may not have contained asbestos. Will I, or any of my family members, get an asbestos disease such as mesothelioma?
Asbestos cancers don’t manifest until decades after exposure, so it’s impossible to tell right now if there will be long-term health effects. However, asbestos cancer diagnoses are very rare, so it is highly unlikely that you, or your family, will ever have to deal with these diseases.
What if I, or someone I know, ends up with mesothelioma?
While mesothelioma is rare, approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. The main thing to remember if you are diagnosed is that it’s not your fault for not getting the asbestos properly removed from your home or just not knowing that you had asbestos in your home at all.
The asbestos industry has known for years that their products can kill. But rather than stepping up and admitting the truth, asbestos manufacturers chose to hide the truth, even after medical and scientific studies affirmed the health issues associated with asbestos exposure, to protect their profits at the expense of human lives.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos disease, particularly mesothelioma, you can fight back. The mesothelioma law firm of Baron & Budd has been fighting on behalf of asbestos sufferers and their families for more than thirty years and has amassed an extensive database of information on what the asbestos industry knew.
Contact Baron & Budd mesothelioma attorneys at 1.866.855.1229 or fill out our online form here.