Building Materials Containing Asbestos

Asbestos Products: Risk Factors for Mesothelioma & Asbestosis

The only known cause of mesothelioma in the U.S. is previous exposure to asbestos fibers. Virtually anyone who has inhaled asbestos dust is at risk. Exposure to asbestos dust can occur at major construction job sites, in shipyards, in industry and during construction or renovation of commercial buildings. Even workers' families and friends can be at risk, as asbestos often can be carried on clothing. It is important to note that workers are not always told they are working around asbestos, and even single exposures to very low doses of fibers can result in harm.

What kinds of building materials may contain asbestos?

There are many products containing asbestos; the following list gives an idea of the widespread use of asbestos. Even more products than those listed here may contain asbestos.

Products that may contain asbestos
Product Location % Asbestos Dates of Use
Roofing & Siding
Roofing felts Flat, built up roofs 10-15 1910-present
Roof felt shingles Roofs 1 1971-1974
Roofing shingles Roofs 20-32 ?-present
Roofing Tiles Roofs 20-30 1930-present
Siding shingles Siding 12-14 ?-present
Clapboards Siding 12-15 1944-1945
Walls & Ceilings
Sprayed coating Ceilings, walls, and
1-95 1935-1978
Troweled coating Ceilings, walls 1-95 1936-1978
Asbestos-cement sheet Near heat sources such as fireplaces, boilers 20-50 1930-present
Spackle Walls, ceilings 3-5 1930-1978
Joint compounds Walls, ceilings 3-5 1945-1977
Textured paints Walls, ceilings 4-15 ?-1978
Millboard, rollboard Walls, commercial buildings 80-85 1925-?
Vinyl wallpaper Walls 6-8 ?
Insulation board Walls 30 ?
Vinyl-asbestos tile Floors 21 1950-1980?
Asphalt-asbestos tile Floors 26-33 1920-1980?
Resilient sheet flooring Floors 30 1950-1980?
Mastic adhesives Sheet flooring and tile backing 5-25 1945-1980?
Pipes & Boilers
Cement pipe and fittings Water and sewer mains 20-? 1935-present
Block insulation Boilers 6-15 1890-1978
Preformed pipe wrap Pipes 50 1926-1975
Corrugated asbestos paper Pipes, high temp., moderate temp. 90
Paper tape Furnaces, steam valves, flanges, electrical wiring 80 1901-1980?
Putty (mudding) Plumbing joints 20-100 1900-1973
Other Products
Gaskets/Packing Pipe flanges, boiler doors, valves, pumps 10-80 1900-1980s
Cloth/Blankets Welding accessory, pipe insulation, curtains, clothing 40-100 1900-1985
Clothing (gloves, mittens, sleeves, aprons, coats, jackets, pants, hoods, spats) Heat and fire resistant protective clothing 40-100 1900-1985
cement/mortar Used as a castable insulation on furnaces, pipes, boilers, brick 5-100 1900-1975
metal-clad firebrick Found in Open Health Furnaces and Basic Oxygen Furnaces 10 1950-1980s
gunnite/fire-proofing spray Sprayed onto furnaces as well as structural steel for fireproofing protection 20-75 1900-1980s
hot-tops (ingot mold covers and inserts) Used with ingot molds in the steel pouring process 10-80 1960-1980