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Tips to Handle Popcorn Ceilings With Asbestos

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on March 18, 2024

Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that can cause illnesses such as asbestosis and mesothelioma even with small amounts of exposure. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure is still a risk today due to a large number of products containing asbestos. Many asbestos-contaminated products were used in building and construction until the 1980s, including textured spray coatings. For this reason, it is important to safely and correctly handle popcorn ceilings when remodeling to decrease your risk of asbestos exposure.

Dealing with popcorn ceilings in older buildings can be a daunting task, especially when they contain asbestos, a harmful material linked to serious health issues like mesothelioma. At The Williams Law Firm, P.C., we understand the complexities and risks involved in handling such hazardous materials like popcorn ceilings. We are here to fight for you every step of the way, and we have never lost a case, showcasing our commitment to your care. Let us help you navigate the challenges of asbestos in popcorn ceilings.

Why Do Some Popcorn Ceilings Contain Asbestos?

Many popcorn ceilings that were installed in the 1980s or 1990s may contain asbestos, as it was a popular building material for its fire-resistant properties and durability. This means that renovating, remodeling, or working on a building that contains an older popcorn ceiling comes with the risk of asbestos exposure and related ailments, such as mesothelioma.

What Are Popcorn Ceilings?

Popcorn ceilings refer to a style of drywall that was popular in homes and commercial buildings from around 1945 to the early ‘90s. Other names include acoustic ceiling, blown-on ceiling, stipple ceiling, and stucco ceiling. This spray contains small beads in the mixture that give the ceiling a dimpled look, earning it the nickname “popcorn ceiling.” It boomed in popularity for its ability to cover up imperfections in walls and ceilings, as well as its acoustic insulation.

What Are the Risks of Asbestos Exposure?

Exposure to asbestos, whether through popcorn ceilings or other sources, can result in serious bodily harms and life-threatening diseases. These issues may include asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and additional problems. There’s also a possibility of cancers within the digestive system, such as colon cancer, rectal cancer, and similar diseases.

What Are Common Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure?

There are several potential symptoms that could indicate exposure to asbestos. If you suspect your popcorn ceilings or another part of your home or workplace contain asbestos, we encourage you to seek medical attention. The following symptoms might indicate you have been exposed to asbestos:

  • Shortness of breath or other difficulty breathing
  • Regular or persistent dry coughing
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Loss of weight
  • Reduced or lost appetite
  • Crackling or other dry sounds in the lungs when breathing
  • Clubbing in the fingertips and toes, or digits looking wider and rounder than normal

If you notice any of these symptoms or any of your household members, we encourage you to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

How to Handle a Ceiling With Potential Asbestos Contamination

If you recognize popcorn ceilings in a building that was built or remodeled prior to 1995, proceed with extreme caution. Assume that the popcorn spray coating contains harmful traces of asbestos. Keep in mind that no amount of asbestos has been proven to be safe for exposure, despite current OSHA regulations that allow for a certain amount of asbestos in the workplace. Take the following steps to properly handle the popcorn ceiling without putting yourself or your family at risk.

Don’t Start Work

It is critical not to begin your construction project on a popcorn ceiling until you have confirmed that there are no traces of asbestos. Don’t touch the ceiling, especially to cut into it or scrape off the popcorn spray. Cutting into it, sanding it down, or altering it in other ways can release dust that contains asbestos into the air. Most masks and respirators will not protect you from asbestos exposure, and microscopic fibers can remain in the air and your home for a long period of time.

Actions to Avoid

If you have popcorn ceilings, they are likely to contain asbestos. Due to the likelihood of asbestos exposure if the material is agitated, we encourage you to avoid agitating or touching the ceiling in any way. Do not cut, scrape, or paint the area in an attempt to remove the material yourself.

Test for Asbestos

Call in a licensed asbestos professional to come to your home and perform an asbestos test on your popcorn ceilings. If you cannot afford to hire a professional, there are cheaper home testing kits available that allow you to collect your own samples and send them to a lab. It is important, however, to take steps to prevent exposure if you choose to collect the sample yourself.

Find Medical Support

Getting medical care is important when you suspect you are in danger of bodily harm, but finding a provider that can help can be difficult. The Williams Law Firm, P.C. can help you find a trustworthy medical provider who can help you with your care, including by exploring all options available to you.

Follow Medical Recommendations

If a medical provider is concerned and suspects exposure to asbestos, follow their recommendations as closely as possible to mitigate harm. Your provider can also create a treatment plan and additional recommendations based on your specific needs and circumstances. This may include referring you to additional specialists who can assist you further.

Contact an Asbestos Removal Expert

If a test comes back positive for traces of asbestos in your popcorn ceilings, do not attempt to remove the spray coating yourself. You must hire a trained and licensed asbestos removal contractor to handle the job for you. 

Licensed professionals can carefully remove the popcorn ceiling and rid the rest of your building of asbestos-contaminated products, including insulation or brick mortar. A professional will use asbestos encapsulation techniques to cover up the popcorn ceilings and prevent asbestos fibers from being released into the air. Finally, a professional can safely and legally dispose of asbestos in a designated dumpsite according to state law. 

Make Sure Affected Areas Are Moistened Before Working

Especially if you or your loved ones are going to be in the area while contractors are working, we encourage you to ensure the ceiling is moistened sufficiently. Moistening the affected areas will help reduce the amount of asbestos that can come into the air and into contact with yourself or others.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

If you believe that contaminated popcorn ceilings in your home have already been disturbed, take steps to help prevent asbestos exposure. Remove your family and pets from the area immediately. Close all of the doors and vents to the affected room. Leave the area and call in an asbestos removal expert. The best way to deal with popcorn ceilings is to trust them to the professionals.

Use PPE Whenever You Must Interact With the Ceiling

If there are any circumstances where you must interact with the ceiling or areas immediately surrounding it, we recommend you use personal protective equipment. You should use a properly rated respirator, protective clothing, eye protection, and ensure electrical power is turned off before coming into the area. 

Your family members or other members of the household should also use the appropriate PPE whenever they come into the area.

Should You Take Legal Action If You Have Popcorn Ceilings With Asbestos?

Depending on the circumstances, you may have the right to take legal action and hold a liable party accountable for your losses. Many individuals and groups have taken successful legal action against those who have exposed them to asbestos. 

It may be beneficial to take legal action against those influencing your exposure through your popcorn ceilings in your home or workplace. However, it’s important to remember that many individuals will not get sick from asbestos exposure until several years later, which could make the process more difficult to tackle alone.

For more information about taking legal action, contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. We can help you understand your rights and allow you to navigate through these complex legal matters with confidence. We have never lost a case, and we want to fight for you and protect your rights.

What Damages Can You Collect for Asbestos Exposure Leading to Bodily Harm?

If you have faced any damages or losses due to exposure to asbestos, you may have the opportunity to receive compensation. The following damages you may have faced are most likely to qualify for financial recovery:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage and loss
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages, including future lost income and benefits
  • Household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Physical therapy
  • Funeral costs
  • In-home rehabilitation
  • Disability
  • Alternative shelter during repair
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Change in lifestyle
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Emotional distress or mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and personal enjoyment

Other losses may also qualify for compensation, depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim. The Williams Law Firm, P.C. can help you identify other eligible losses, estimate the value of your claim, and help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your losses and suffering.

How Can an Asbestos Exposure Lawyer Help You?

If you have been exposed to asbestos due to another person’s negligent behavior and actions, you have the right to take legal action and hold them accountable. After exposure to asbestos, or suspected exposure, The Williams Law Firm, P.C. can handle several aspects of your case on your behalf, including through the following steps and services:

  • Conducting an independent investigation
  • Working with medical professionals
  • Negotiating with every party to recover a satisfactory settlement
  • Preparing your case for court
  • Collecting evidence to prove liability
  • Consulting with experts to determine the full scope of your damages
  • Assuring that all documents are filed correctly and in a timely manner
  • Reviewing your damages to determine the total value of your claim
  • Communicating with the other parties on your behalf
  • Organizing your medical records and bills
  • Working with your healthcare providers to obtain any missing records
  • Organizing and presenting the evidence in order to prove liability and damages
  • Providing access to research methods and tools only available to legal professionals
  • Offering a quicker delivery of documents from law enforcement and doctors
  • Providing an understanding of the legal system and how to make it work for you
  • Reducing stress related to your claim in many ways

Please refrain from representing yourself during these legal matters, as there is a significant risk of reducing compensation you would otherwise obtain. When you work with a qualified attorney from The Williams Law Firm, P.C., we can also reduce litigation time and decrease stress linked to your case.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

We urge you to contact us as soon as possible to improve your odds of success even further. When you reach out to us sooner rather than later, we have more time to collect evidence and information, gain a strong understanding of your needs and circumstances, and to build a robust set of arguments in your favor.

Do not hesitate to contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. at your earliest convenience. We can schedule a free consultation when you connect with us.

Contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. Today: Receive Invaluable Representation and Legal Insight

If you’re dealing with the complexities of asbestos in popcorn ceilings, know that you’re not alone. The Williams Law Firm, P.C., led by Joseph P. Williams, specializes in providing comprehensive legal support to those affected by asbestos exposure. Whether you’re facing health concerns or property disputes related to asbestos contamination, we are here to guide you through your legal options. We have successfully represented numerous clients, securing the compensation and justice they deserve. 

Don’t navigate this challenge alone; let our experience in asbestos and mesothelioma law work for you. For a free and personal consultation on your asbestos-related concerns, contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. today. Reach out to us at (855) 575-6376 or complete our contact form. We have never lost a case and would be proud to fight for you during this difficult time. This is our cause, not just another case.

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