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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Man, have I been thrown for a loop. Was helping a buddy out with some renovation of his new (old 1977) house. Walls had this horrible stomp texture (all the rage back then I'm sure!). We realized the paint peeled off in pretty good sized chunks to expose the sprayed on texture (mud). Took my Aleko drywall sander, a cheapo version of the porter cable 7800, and went to town. The stuff came right off to great result...walls were smooth in no time. Just a little touch up here and there. Shop vac did a pretty good on of containing all the dust. We were wearing p-100 masks. He goes to test the popcorn ceiling for asbestos, and just had a weird feeling about the wall texture, so tested the mud too.

10% asbestos!!!:eek:

In hindsight, woulda been good to test first, have abatement guys gut the place and then hang new rock. Oh well, Live and learn. We had some exposure but at least it was brief. Abatement guys are coming to scrape the ceiling and do a final cleanup to pass clearance. Guess we've taken a bit of a health risk, but who hasnt in our field. Now my question is...how many guys used this stuff back in the day? Tons I'm sure!! Called up one of my painter buddies- he'd never heard of asbestos in joint compound either, and he's been working since the 1970's/80's (I've only been at it a year). If white asbestos is as bad as they say, EVERYBODY would have lung cancer. Talked to my doc, says no type of asbestos is a good thing (obviously) but chrysotile is the lesser of the evils and unless you're huffing the stuff day in and day out your risk is small. Glad I quit smoking years ago and it was only brief.

Any old timers (drywall trade or GCs) who've been doing this stuff for a long time since the 60s or 70s who used to be around this stuff/have stories?
 

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Not old enough to remember it, but I run into it all the time on renovation projects. Another one people don't think about is asbestos in the glazing compound of old windows. Mostly in things like schools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
John, good point. Read about that one recently as well (been doin' a lot of reading!). Do you guys always get the abatement guys out? I have trouble believing that these things are always tested and abatement teams hired "in the field." Doesn't seem too practical (or realistic when one considers how much construction still exists in this country that is pre-1980). Of course i'll be more mindful now, already told my good buddies about it. I'm sure it's not my first brush with it.
 

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We always get abatement subs out. But I am also in the large commercial market. We don't always remove all drywall though. A lot of times the abatement guys do the selective demolition and scraping so that the drywallers can patch in the new board and blend the texture.
 

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I know of 3 people who died from mesothelioma. Two guys who did unprotected / unlicensed abatement for a town, one who was licensed and used protection.

My understanding is the asbestos particle has to be in a very specific, very small particle range. One particle of the right size getting deep in your lungs is 100%, but it can take a long time to show up.

Asbestos was used in just about everything at one time or another. Siding, glazing, flooring, drywall, cement board, texture, pipe insulation, furnace cement,and on. On big commercial jobs, there would be big bags of the stuff for the plumbers to use for insulating pipes. Fluffy white stuff - they'd have snowball fights with it and be covered.

I've had an oops or two over the years. I'm very cautious after an abatement is done - I'll spray paint everything, even though it has passed the air test. I won't be pleased if I come down with it, but I'm not staying awake nights worrying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Wow, that is scary stuff. Sorry to hear about the losses...

Pretty crazy that people worked with the stuff for so long. Wonder how many drywall guys here on the forum used to work with the mud. Now I've come to understand it was pretty much in all products up until the late 70s (in varying amounts). It seems that there wasn't a ton of documented cases of illness, other than a few documented big legal cases and I'm sure a handful of lesser known cases, from using the joint compound. Sounds like this is due to the type of asbestos and size of fibers. It's also hard to tell what the actual level of risk with it was, since the plaintiffs bar has done such a good job with their advertising ("Asbestos joint compound kills! Are you or a family member sick? Call us now!"). :blink: Anyways...

Curious to hear if any well seasoned guys who've been in the trade for 40+ years will weigh in with any stories...
 

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Testing & Abatement pros are called in due to liability.

Residential & Commercial. Very stringent real estate disclosure laws out here. I've seen buyers have mud/ceilings tested for asbestos.

It's not chit you want to fool around with.

Got a will?...:whistling :laughing:
 

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I started taping in 1969 and there was asbestos in the mud then cus I remember a few years later when they figured out it was bad chit, the terrible mud we had for about a year while they tried to develop compound without asbestos in it.

Back then nobody wore masks and often we would sand in a walk-up for 2 or 3 days in a row as we were the grunts on a big crew. We ate a lot of dust!!

Jump ahead 40 some years or so and I'm still here though my breathing is a little labored!! I have been tested and I have what they call "borderline asthma"!! The therapist says it is likely from the asbestos.

All I can really say .... "Stay away from that chit!!! It isn't healthy!!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lol, thanks for the reassurances Griz. Will have to look at getting a will put together ASAP.

In all seriousness, I know it's bad chit. Nothing to joke around about. And it seems criminal that the :censored: manufacturers got away with it for so long, knowing full well it was hazardous stuff. Profit over people...typical.

Sorry to hear about the health issues, Bummie- glad it's not somethin' worse. I'm sure there are many more guys with crazy stories out there... Who just breathed clouds of the stuff day in and day out. I mean, you gotta think, guys who worked with insulation, did drywall, cut transite, etc etc. I mean the stuff was everywhere! Makes me think I should be a little more cautious about remodeling my own place, which is also older. Meh, live and learn. Well...hopefully we'll all live. :rolleyes:
 

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I have been in the painting and plaster trades for 33 years now. I have dealt with AL that's what we called asbestoes:thumbsup:,
That way when we would run into it in a house that was built in the 1920's the home owners didn't know what we were dealing with as we would bag it up. When we did jobs I always had resperators with the 3M cartages for lead. We also would use plastic sheets to close off rooms we were working in, I always use to get razzed over wearing the resperators by the older guys call in me a wussy, I would tell them yeah whatever at least I can breath :laughing::laughing:
Cause back in the 1980's there was AL in spray texture popcorn the old timers said it made the mud follow better same with plaster they said it would make plaster smoother. I still wore my resperator and as years went by I made a dust collector to remove all dust from the room we would work in, other trades hated seeing us on jobs because we would have plastic up blocking off rooms we would cover floors with red rosin paper and then have dust collector running you couldn't hear radio unless it was on full blasted:laughing: so it was noisie but the dust was contained and not all over the house.
For years we would always hear the little remarks but I wonder how many are still working in the trades that use to laugh at me for wearing a resperator:laughing:
I still do plaster repairs I have not had one problem from the way I have done prep before any demo. I have removed AL from steam pipes as long as AL is wet there is no problem I would soak it down remove it bag it up throw out with trash. But now Government has it like you encounter it and you DEAD:laughing: it takes about 20 to 25 years for it to show up then it's to late, that's why old time plasterers aren't many around cause they wouldn't wear a mask cause it wasn't manly:whistling
But there are all types of AL that people don't know about like the golden metallic insulation around electrical wires in older homes from the 1920's to 1950's to it being added in popcorn textures applied in the 1980's. So now we have the EPA Police who come in and regulate instead of teaching contractors on how to do a job which keeps workers safe. So we have lost people for a lack of safety and commonsense:no:
 

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I did large truck style spraying in the 1970's. I have probably sprayed square miles of asbestos containing wall and ceiling texture. Mostly Georgia Pacific and Ruco brand materials. I always wore a quality respirator and eye protection. And a spray suit. I remember other guys wearing only a paper dust mask often with a little hole burned into them so they could fit a cigarette there while working. I'm still going strong. Don't know how they are. Some of these guys looked like asbestos, horrible as it is, was the least of their worries. Glad they got rid of the asbstos. Nothing to take lightly.
 

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Something a lot of people should worry about more, is silicosis. The silica dust from drywall sanding, concrete grinding/cutting, etc. It gets deep into your lungs and doesn't get out. Eventually it can cause lung damage that can't be repaired. Not everyone gets it bad enough to call it silicosis, but I have seen many guys (myself included) sand drywall and cut concrete without a mask. I figured it wasn't good, then when I read about silicosis it really made me want to always wear a good mask when dealing with silica dust.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000134.htm
 
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