The invention of asbestos-based sheetrock led to the premature deaths of thousands of drywall tapers
From the time that gypsum board was invented in 1916 to the early 1980s, drywall tapers suffered asbestos exposure during various work-site activities: like mixing drywall and taping compounds containing powdered asbestos, or sanding walls with asbestos-based taping compounds. Drywall taper was one of the most dangerous asbestos jobs in construction.
DRYWALL TAPERS AND ASBESTOS
June 10, 2010 – U.S. Gypsum invented gypsum board (also called drywall, sheetrock or wallboard) to replace the age-old time-consuming process of applying layer upon layer of plaster over a framework of wooden laths.
Drywall came in standard size sheets that sandwiched a layer of gypsum and asbestos between two sheets of heavy paper. Asbestos was used because it added strength to the walls, it was resistant to fire and temperature changes, and it was inexpensive.
While sheetrock workers could finish a wall in a fraction of the time required to plaster one, the walls still showed seams where the sheetrock panels met, and where nails were driven.
Consequently, a new job emerged from the dust-plagued construction industry of the early 20th-century – that of “drywall taper.”
Duties and dangers of a drywall taper
Drywall tapers added the finishing touches to a newly erected interior wall by applying asbestos-based tape and taping compound over the seams and nail heads, and then sanding the surface to a smooth finish.
Any work activity that involves sanding and cutting products that contain asbestos will release toxic asbestos fibers into the air. When they are accidentally inhaled or swallowed, asbestos exposure occurs.
Asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis and kills 10,000 people every year in the United States.
Nearly 3,000 cases of mesothelioma (the signature asbestos-related cancer) are diagnosed annually in the United States, and a large percentage of the victims are retired construction workers who spent their careers working with asbestos-based construction building materials.
Drywall tapers can seek compensation
Weitz & Luxenberg is well versed in this litigation area, having represented construction workers for 25 years – longer than most law firms in the nation. And in that time the firm's mesothelioma lawyers have won several billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for asbestos-injured tradesmen.
If you worked in the construction industry and have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to obtain financial restitution to cover lost wages, medical bills and suffering. The funds will also help protect your family’s financial future.
For a free and private review of your case, please use the communication form on this page. We will answer all your concerns at no cost so you can make educated decisions during this complicated time for you and your family.