The widespread use of asbestos as a cost effective, versatile building material during the last century has literally, left a deadly legacy hanging over our heads!
Lack of asbestos awareness or deliberate denial and concealment of the emerging link between working with the material and the contracting of asbestos-related disease, most commonly, asbestosis or the aggressive form, mesothelioma, is still being resolved as claims for asbestos compensation continue to be made by in and out of court settlements, today.
Decorative and acoustic plaster was commonly used in building and surfacing walls during the 1940s through to the 1980s. Decorative plaster treatments included troweled plaster ceilings and walls, moulded plaster footings and mouldings and plaster art deco restoration work applied to old buildings. The primary danger today for decorative plaster is exposure to asbestos dust as the plaster deteriorates.
One of the most common places to find asbestos in older homes is in textured artex ceilings, which were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Artex ceilings made before the early 1980s commonly contained white asbestos, also known as chrysotile asbestos. While chrysotile asbestos is the least harmful type of asbestos used in construction, there is still the danger of inhaling asbestos fibres if the ceilings deteriorate and start to fragment and crumble.
Construction workers who mixed decorative plaster may have been exposed to asbestos particles and dust in the air. Specialists in creating scalloped plaster ceilings and other decorative uses may also have been exposed to levels of asbestos nearly as high as those experienced in factories which made asbestos-containing materials. Other dangers of decorative plaster include exposure to asbestos dust during renovation, repair and demolition. On site janitors in buildings containing large quantities of decorative plaster may also be at high risk.
Because so many asbestos-containing materials were used in the construction industry, people who worked in construction during the 1920s to the 1980s are at heightened risks of developing mesothelioma. While most asbestos containing products were discontinued after the 1980s, many are still being used.