Background: Drywall joint compound contained asbestos fibers, primarily chrysotile, in the 1950s through the 1970s. Workers in a variety of construction trades and homeowners were exposed to respirable asbestos from the use of these products, including during handling, mixing, sanding, and sweeping. Disturbance of in-place asbesto-containing joint compound continues to be a potential source of exposure during demolition or repair of wallboard. Studies from the 1970s and 1980s report air fiber measurements above current and historic regulatory limits during intended usage, and typical asbestos-related disease in drywall construction workers.
Objectives: We present three cases of mesothelioma in which the only known exposure to asbestos was from joint compound and review the literature on exposure circumstances, dose and fiber types.
Conclusions: Physicians treating mesothelioma patients should obtain a history of exposure to these products during work or home remodeling.