Painters affected by occupational asbestos exposure are entitled to financial compensation

Michael Bartlett

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on September 07th, 2020

Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in the construction of buildings, and those who worked as painters were exposed to asbestos dust and other asbestos-containing products including paints. Even to this day, painters working at older builders are at risk of being exposed to the carcinogenic asbestos.

During the 20th century, asbestos was added to paints as a filler, especially in the paints used on bridges and shipyards. These paints contained as much as 20% asbestos by weight. The use of such paints was reduced after 1950 but the use of textured paints and coatings that contained 5% chrysotile asbestos were quite extensive in home decoration until the late 1980s. According to a study, the concentration of airborne asbestos fibers was five times higher than the recommended exposure limit during painting activities. The levels were even higher when the painters used power tools or performed mixing of drywall cement. Therefore, professional painters who were working on bridges, shipyards, homes, and offices were inadvertently exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.

Understanding the common tasks painters used to perform regularly

Painters exposed to asbestos

The major part of a painter's job involved the preparation of the walls for painting. Painters were responsible for painting at construction sites, shipyards, offices, and homes. Often, painters would clean, prime, fill, sand, and caulk the surfaces such as wallboard, tapes, and joint compound that contained asbestos.

These activities disturbed the asbestos-containing materials and created asbestos dust that was inhaled by painters. In the absence of safety gear, painters would take large amounts of asbestos fibers into their lungs. Painters had to work closely with the following products that contained various levels of asbestos:

  • Paints
  • Shingles
  • Coatings and glosses
  • Tapes
  • Joint or drywall compound
  • Wall tile backing
  • Fillers and drying agents

We can summarize the job duties of painters as follows:

  • Application of paint and coatings to walls/ceilings
  • Painting machinery and other structures
  • Application of primers and sealers
  • Filling holes and cracks with putty
  • Preparation of surfaces by sanding

Painters are likely to develop fatal asbestos-related diseases

Exposed to asbestos in paint

A study conducted in North Carolina found higher rates of lung cancer in painters who worked in the construction industry.

Higher disease rates were identified in former painters as per several mesothelioma and lung cancer registries. Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers and inhalation of these particles can lead to serious illnesses including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Former painters who were exposed to a high amount of asbestos fibers on their job are at risk of developing precancerous conditions and serious diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. If painters have developed these diseases, they can file an asbestos claim if asbestos fibers are found in their lungs. These are the cancers that deem painters eligible to file a claim for asbestos exposure:

Painters are eligible to claim financial compensation for their occupational asbestos exposure-related disease

If you were working as a painter, you are likely to have been exposed to asbestos while at work, and now it is important to regularly monitor your health to detect any asbestos-related illness at the earliest. You are entitled to receive compensation from the asbestos trust funds if you are suffering from asbestos-related cancer. The financial compensation can help you deal with the mounting medical costs associated with your asbestos-related disease. If you served in the military as a painter, we can help you receive compensation from the VA as well. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling asbestos-related claims and can help you and your family receive compensation.