(855) 575-6376

5 Materials at Construction Sites That Could Be Contaminated With Asbestos

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on June 2, 2021

Asbestos is a hazardous mineral that is directly linked to terminal illnesses, such as mesothelioma. Although now it is recognized as carcinogenic to humans, it was once used widely as a popular ingredient in building and construction materials for its fire-resistant properties. This puts construction workers at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma compared to the general population.

Even today, materials found at construction sites may be contaminated with asbestos. Avoiding some of the most commonly contaminated materials can help keep you safe as a professional in the construction industry. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a disease related to asbestos, consult with asbestos in construction attorney about your legal rights.


Professionals who worked as painters have a higher rate of mesothelioma, lung cancer and additional diseases related to asbestos than other types of professionals. Studies have shown that the amount of asbestos fibers in the air during painting activities is five times higher than the legal exposure limit. Paint and coatings may contain traces of asbestos or even have asbestos listed as an ingredient. Textured paints and coatings, such as those used to create a decorative appearance on ceilings and walls, are especially common culprits. 


Spackling is used to repair damage to drywall or plaster before painting. It is often made of gypsum powder that may contain traces of asbestos. Contaminated spackling that contains asbestos is especially common in spraying compounds. If a construction worker or building contractor has to use spackling while on the job, he or she could be at risk of asbestos exposure through contaminated products. Exposure could also arise from encountering old spackling left behind in buildings from before asbestos was regulated.

Roofing Materials

Roofing shingles and roofing felt have been known to contain harmful levels of asbestos, especially in older buildings. In the past, tile setters mixed and spread asbestos grout when roofing, as well as used asbestos shingles and tiles. In addition, roofers used to spray asbestos-contaminated asphalt compounds onto finished roofs. Today, removing these tiles while renovating a home can lead to harmful asbestos exposure. Roofing felt, which is often found on top of outbuildings and garages, can also contain asbestos. 

Masonry Materials

Masonry materials, used for bricklaying and brickwork, can contain asbestos and present a hazard to construction workers and masonry professionals. In the past, masonry workers mixed raw asbestos into compounds or used it to make bricks and blocks. Then, the bricklayers cut them down to size and secured them with adhesives or concrete that contained more asbestos. 

Masonry workers may have also been exposed to asbestos when preparing the surface for new bricks by scraping up the dry asbestos-contaminated mortar. All of these issues mean that bricklayers and masonry workers from years ago are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma today, and modern construction workers may be at risk of exposure during demolitions or renovations.


Drywall, as well as insulation materials, often contain traces of asbestos. Research has found traces of asbestos in almost all drywall products, including plasters, gypsum board, millboard, and joint compounds. One study sampled 10 drywall taping compounds and discovered asbestos contamination in all 10. This is largely due to the fire-resistant nature of asbestos, which made it appealing for use in building homes and structures. Workers are especially at risk when cutting or sanding drywall panels, as this can release asbestos dust into the air.

Contact an Asbestos Attorney for Assistance

Construction workers may be at risk of dangerous asbestos exposure from traces of this mineral left behind in old buildings, as well as contaminated modern building materials. Since asbestos can take decades to cause mesothelioma, workers who were exposed to asbestos at construction sites years ago may only now be noticing symptoms. If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos at a construction site in New York, contact an attorney from The Williams Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.  

Free consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.