Asbestos in Drywall Tape

Quick Summary

Drywall tape contained asbestos for decades. As a result, anyone who worked as a drywall taper prior to the early 1980s could be at risk of cancers like mesothelioma. If you or a loved one are a former drywall taper who has been been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we can help you file for benefits.

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Mesothelioma and Drywall Tapers

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by inhaling or ingesting fibers from disturbed asbestos. Many tradesmen and construction workers were exposed to asbestos in drywall daily prior to the early 1980s.

Asbestos was used in drywall since it was a good insulator and fire-resistant. It was the drywall tapers’ job to stick together pieces of drywall before sanding them down, which created huge amounts of asbestos dust.

Worker using drywall tapeknown health hazard among drywall tapers. However, as mesothelioma can take 10-50 years to develop after asbestos exposure, many tapers are just being diagnosed now — including those that served in the military decades ago.

Thankfully, drywall tapers with mesothelioma may qualify for life-changing medical and financial benefits. Learn more by requesting our Free Veterans Packet.

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Why Was Asbestos Used in Drywall Tape?

Before World War II, most walls were made from a time-consuming mix of plaster and wood. Drywall was the solution to this lengthy process, and drywall taping boomed as a result.

By the end of World War II, houses were commonly made with drywall instead of plaster. Drywall allowed more houses to be built in less time. Unfortunately, drywall mixture contained lethal levels of asbestos for decades.

If inhaled or swallowed, these fibers could get trapped in the body and cause mesothelioma 10-50 years later.

Did you know?

By 1979, it was estimated that 75,000 U.S. people were employed as drywall tapers. Air samples taken during this period showed that sanders were breathing in fiber concentrations that greatly exceeded government regulations.

Asbestos-based products like drywall tape are now heavily restricted in the U.S. However, many were exposed to asbestos in drywall before the risks became public knowledge in the early 1980s and are still at risk of developing mesothelioma today.

Asbestos in Drywall: High-Risk Job Duties for Workers

Drywall tapers had to perform many tasks as part of their job duties.

Nearly all the steps listed below could kick up asbestos fibers in drywall.

  • Covering wallboards with a putty solution
  • Filling nail holes with drywall compound
  • Sanding the drywall flat
  • Blending the joints to create an even surface
  • Creating textures for design purposes
  • Monitoring and inspecting finished drywalls

Drywall tapers work in dusty environments, so even the workers who weren’t on sanding duty could have been at risk of asbestos exposure simply by breathing in the air around them.

Secondhand Exposure to Asbestos in Drywall

Fibers from asbestos in drywall could easily attach to clothing. If the tapers returned home without sanitizing, they could have unknowingly exposed their families. This is known as secondhand asbestos exposure and can be just as dangerous as being exposed directly.

Spouses, children, and other relatives of drywall tapers could go on to develop mesothelioma as a result of secondhand exposure.

Contact us if you or a loved one has mesothelioma. We can help you access medical and financial benefits.

Present-Day Risks of Asbestos in Drywall

There is no longer any asbestos used in drywall today — instead, it contains gypsum, lime, and cement. Further, drywall tapers typically wear coveralls to reduce the transfer of dust fibers.

Workers on ladders attaching ceiling tilesThat said, drywall remains a hazard in older buildings that were made before the risks of asbestos were well-known. Whenever older buildings are demolished or renovated, asbestos-containing drywall has to be removed and disposed of safely.

Today, specialized asbestos teams are often called in to inspect the area and make recommendations to drywall tapers before work begins.

VA Benefits for Drywall Tapers With Mesothelioma

Millions of Americans, including many drywall tapers, were exposed to asbestos before the risks were public knowledge. Thousands of people develop mesothelioma every year as a result.

Horrifically, makers of asbestos-based products knew the risks of asbestos in drywall and other products as far back as the 1930s but said nothing. Fortunately, you may qualify for financial and medical benefits if you developed mesothelioma from asbestos in drywall.

You can get help through:

Mesothelioma Claims

Filing a private mesothelioma claim against the makers of asbestos-containing drywall tape can allow you to get financial compensation. The average mesothelioma claim pays out over $1 million.

Money secured from a private asbestos claim (otherwise known as a mesothelioma lawsuit) can help you and your family pay for anything — including treatment costs and household expenses.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Many manufacturers of asbestos-based products filed for bankruptcy protection after the risks of asbestos-became well-known. These bankrupt companies were forced to put money aside in trust funds for those who were harmed.

You can't file a mesothelioma claim against companies with trust funds. Instead, you'll need to file a trust fund claim. More than $30 billion is currently available across all asbestos trusts.

We can help you file an asbestos trust fund claim right now.

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VA Benefits

Military construction workers may have been exposed to asbestos in drywall on a regular basis. If you are a U.S. veteran with mesothelioma, you may qualify to get benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Mesothelioma VA benefits typically pay out over $3,000 each month. Further, you can also get care from top mesothelioma doctors that work with the VA for free or at a low cost.

File for mesothelioma VA benefits now with help from Eric Hall, our VA-accredited attorney and a fellow U.S. veteran.

Help for Drywall Tapers Exposed to Asbestos

Asbestos in drywall has led to the deaths of far too many Americans — including civilians and U.S. veterans. If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos in drywall and later got sick, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center is standing by to help you.

Our team can connect you with:

  • Financial compensation
  • Top doctors & medical care
  • VA benefits

Learn about all the ways we can help you in our Free Veterans Packet.

FAQs About Asbestos in Drywall

Was asbestos used in drywall?

Yes. Asbestos was used in drywall and drywall tape for decades. To learn if there is asbestos in the drywall of your house or another structure, contact a licensed professional.

Don't go near damaged drywall or drywall tape that might contain asbestos, as stray fibers could be lurking in the air.

Why was asbestos used in drywall?

Asbestos was used in drywall because it was very durable and heat-resistant. Using asbestos also allowed drywall to be made faster than mixing wood and plaster.

Further, the dangers of asbestos weren't fully known until the early 1980s. Thus, it was believed that asbestos was safe to use in drywall — even though we now know it causes mesothelioma.

How can I get help if I was exposed to asbestos in drywall?

If you were exposed to asbestos in drywall and now have mesothelioma, you can get help by contacting our team.

We can connect you with medical care from top doctors, financial aid often worth $1 million or more, and monthly VA benefits if you qualify.

If you were exposed to asbestos but aren't yet sick, keep a watch out for possible symptoms of asbestos-related diseases (like a cough or shortness of breath) and see a doctor quickly if they appear.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Fischbein, A., et al (1979). Drywall construction and asbestos exposure. Retrieved May 16, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/463751/