The vast majority of our clients were exposed to asbestos through their hands-on use of asbestos-containing products at their respective job sites. This can also hold true for the use of asbestos-containing joint compounds, because the home is one of the most common job sites associated with joint compounds. Starting in the 1950s, many manufacturers of asbestos-containing building products, including joint compounds, advertised heavily toward the do-it-yourself market. Because asbestos was an ingredient in many joint compounds until the late 1970s, household exposures were commonplace. Additionally, and because of inadequate warnings, many people were unknowingly exposed to asbestos during this time period.
The use of asbestos-containing joint compound in the home not only exposes the worker to asbestos, but also any bystanders (including family members) who are present while the work takes place. Based on Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) testing, once airborne, asbestos fibers can take between four and eighty hours to fall from a ceiling height of nine feet in still air. These time periods increase if there is any turbulence in the air from individuals moving around. The potential for exposure increases when asbestos fibers remain airborne and can become easily inhaled.
The potential for asbestos exposure does not stop here. Since asbestos has aerodynamic qualities and is practically indestructible, the fibers can permeate every location of the home, including rugs, curtains, clothing and bedding. If not properly cleaned up, these asbestos fibers can remain in the home for years. Once asbestos fibers enter the home, they can be repeatedly re-circulated or re-entrained into the air, further exposing family members.
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC have represented many individuals who have developed mesothelioma or lung cancer as a result of household exposure to asbestos. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.