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Plaster can begin to crack and fall apart after many years (or after being hit too hard) however, is that exposed plaster dangerous?
Exposed plaster isn’t inherently dangerous but if it is old plaster that contains asbestos then it certain could become dangerous.
Asbestos in plaster poses serious health risks. If you or someone you know has been exposed to this substance, you should seek medical advice immediately. Exposure to asbestos is associated with the deadly disease mesothelioma, which can have devastating effects on health and cause death.
Manufacturers continued to add asbestos to plaster products despite the health risks associated with exposure to this material. Asbestos-induced disease victims may be eligible for compensation.
Artex ceilings contain chrysotile asbestos
If your home contains Artex ceilings, you should get a professional assessment to find out if they contain chrysotile asbestos. Asbestos is dangerous and should not be handled by the untrained, especially if you have a positive lab result. However, if you suspect that your ceiling contains asbestos, you can still try to remove it yourself, or you can choose to plaster over it.
Despite the risks, some people may still be unaware that their Artex ceilings contain chrystsotile asbestos. The sprayed coating was made by mixing asbestos with Portland cement to make it thicker and stronger. The mixture was then sprayed onto the ceiling with a large gun. Despite the lack of visible asbestos, the coating feels hard when touched. It is best to keep the ceilings covered and away from children.
Asbestos removal teams have the tools and know-how to remove Artex ceilings without releasing harmful asbestos fibres. Dedicated Artex removal products are available that use water-based technology to get rid of textured coatings without releasing harmful asbestos fibres. The Asbestos Watchdog – Artex is an agency dedicated to helping people who are affected by Artex ceilings.
DIY fanatics used Artex extensively in the 1970s. They used it on ceilings and interior walls as it didn’t require plastering skills. It was easy to apply and didn’t need skilled workers. This material is still available today, but it no longer contains asbestos. There are a variety of methods to test Artex for asbestos. Listed below are some of them:
Gypsum is not a health hazard
Exposure to phospho-gypsum plaster-board was considered as a contributing factor to the annual effective dose equivalent (EDE) exposure in a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco. The study evaluated four sources of exposure: 222Rn, its daughters, phospho-gypsum dust, and beta and gamma radiation. Exposure to the plaster-board material was modeled according to the behaviour of the four sources.
The presence of gypsum deposits in the lungs is a risk factor for lung cancer. The presence of gypsum in the lungs has also been linked with respiratory illness, which may cause the development of lung cancer. Although gypsum is not a health risk, it should be avoided in workplaces with exposed plaster. Exposure to gypsum in the workplace is a concern for employees and property owners, but it is safe to handle for residential applications.
The EPA categorises gypsum waste as a high-sulfate waste. The product is not hazardous when landfilled but does produce hydrogen sulphide, which can cause respiratory and eye irritation. Because of this, it is not allowed to be landfilled in mixed waste. It must be disposed of in dedicated high-sulfate landfill cells, so that its chemical composition does not alter. Additionally, gypsum is recyclable.
The United States is one of the world’s largest producers of gypsum. In 2020, it is projected that the U.S. will produce 22 million metric tons of gypsum. While gypsum is a core material for drywall manufacturing, there is little consistency in its toxicity. For example, gypsum-based drywall may have ten times the level of mercury as other types.
Wood fiber plaster contains asbestos
Wood fiber plaster is a material commonly used for wall assemblies. In the past, wood fiber plaster was mixed with gypsum and calcified gypsum. Despite the risks of asbestos, it is often considered a safer alternative to other plasters, and was used for large surfaces such as basement walls. While asbestos was banned for residential use in the mid-1960s, many people continue to use wood fiber plaster.
To detect whether a wall contains asbestos, you must examine the texture of the surface. Look for signs of repair patch lines and cover straps over joint areas. Look for nail heads that protrude from the surface, as well as picture or chair rails that separate upper and lower walls. Older styles of asbestos cement sheet may have a dimpled golf ball appearance and feel. You should contact an asbestos testing laboratory if you suspect any of these materials.
Until the 1970s, asbestos was widely used in building materials. You could find asbestos in floor and ceiling tile, ceiling tiles, wall-joint compound, ironing board pads, oven mitts, and plaster. Even older homes with old ceilings were likely covered in asbestos. Whether or not they are crumbling, it’s best to have them tested for asbestos. If you’re considering remodeling or demolishing the house, make sure to disclose the existence of asbestos.
Before sampling the affected area, make sure to wear disposable gloves. Turn off any HVAC systems to minimize the spread of released fibers. To minimize the risk of contamination, place a plastic sheet beneath the area where you want to test for asbestos. If the sample contains any asbestos, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly with water and detergent before putting it in a resealable plastic bag. Once the sample is cleaned, dispose of it properly according to local guidelines.
Gypsum in drywall can cause silicosis
While gypsum is a harmless substance, other substances in drywall dust are not. Exposure to silica dust over time can result in silicosis, a potentially life-threatening disease. The condition can cause permanent lung damage, as well as severe disabling symptoms, such as emphysema and occupational asthma. Because silicosis has no cure, it is important for workers to wear protective equipment while doing their jobs.
Although drywall is not known to cause silicosis, exposure to its dust can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs. The material is not toxic in low levels, but it can aggravate respiratory problems such as coughing and phlegm production. In some cases, it can even worsen symptoms in smokers and those with respiratory conditions. Because of its potential toxicity, drywall dust is not safe for everyone to breathe, but it is especially dangerous for those with sinus conditions or who have respiratory problems.
Drywall products are made from gypsum, which is an element that is found in nature. Until recent years, silica was not filtered out from gypsum used in the manufacturing of drywall. Today, however, drywall is made with a high concentration of silica, a risk factor for silicosis. In fact, gypsum board is now manufactured with higher levels of silica than its pre-lightweight predecessor.
The problem with gypsum is that it can release radon, a radioactive gas that can be deadly. It is also a possible source of haloes in homes, which can cause silicosis in people. Gypsum is found in many homes and buildings in large numbers, including old-fashioned homes and apartments. This is one of the main reasons why people are exposed to it in the first place.
Gypsum in drywall
In 2011, the CPSC issued a report on the dangers of drywall that included high levels of volatile sulfur. The association then acted to establish voluntary standards for drywall. These standards were designed to protect consumers by ensuring that the material is strong and fire resistant. But the Gypsum Association says the voluntary standards are not enough, and more oversight is needed. Furthermore, lawsuits point to the possibility of drywall containing Chinese drywall or recycled gypsum.
Although gypsum itself is not toxic to people, other substances found in drywall dust may cause respiratory problems and even cancer. Talc dust can damage the respiratory system and cause lung fibrosis, while silica powder has been linked to respiratory irritation and cancer. The dust from these substances can cause eye irritation, respiratory problems, and aggravate the condition of gypsum-containing drywall.
In addition, some types of drywall contain high levels of formaldehyde and mercury. In addition, some drywall is made with synthetic gypsum, which is a form of coal ash produced through a scrubbing process. According to the EPA, more than half of all drywall manufactured in the U.S. is made from FGD gypsum. This type of gypsum is not regulated by the federal government. In fact, the EPA encourages the reuse of FGD gypsum, which has relatively low VOC levels.
Currently, there are no federal laws or regulations prohibiting the use of drywall in homes, although a study done by the University of Florida found that it contained unusually high levels of sulfur gas. However, newly purchased Chinese and American drywall also contained high levels of sulfur. In addition, the manufacturer of the drywall, National Gypsum, commissioned Packer Engineering, Inc., to carry out a series of tests on Brincku’s home. The tests showed that National Gypsum did not cause corrosion.