Asbestos Cement Is Still Widely Used. But Proper Precautions Can Help Avoid Exposure to Harmful Asbestos Fibers.

We know today that asbestos is an incredibly toxic material, capable of causing mesothelioma, respiratory disorders, and several different types of cancer. However, asbestos was once widely used by many industries. In fact, its strength, resiliency, and heat-resistant properties made it a favorite among home builders and contractors. Watchdogs eventually exposed asbestos as a critical health hazard, prompting the E.P.A. to ban the manufacture, import, and sale of most asbestos materials

Unfortunately, and in spite of the E.P.A.’s ban, many American homes still contain significant amounts of asbestos. While these materials could be found anywhere inside a house, cement sheets are among the most common sources of contamination. 

The Medical Dangers of Asbestos 

Asbestos is a term used to describe six different types of naturally occurring mineral. In its natural form, asbestos is not particularly dangerous. However, people rarely use asbestos in its natural form. Instead, asbestos is mined and then broken down into tiny fibers. These fibers, often smaller than the width of a single human hair, can be woven into other materials.

Asbestos is at its most dangerous when it is broken down; once asbestos fibers are released into the air, they have a direct pathway into the respiratory system. Over time, asbestos fibers can accumulate inside and around the lungs, causing health problems up to and including cancer.

Asbestos and Cement Sheets 

While scientists suspected that asbestos was responsible for serious health problems as early as the 19th century, the asbestos industry aggressively claimed that its products were safe for every-day use. 

Consequently, asbestos was widely used in home construction. If your house was built between the 1920s and 1970s, there is a significant chance it could contain asbestos cement sheets. There are three main types of asbestos cement sheets: 

  • Corrugated asbestos sheets, made from fibrous cement. These sheets were once preferred over metal roof panels, since asbestos-based sheets offer better insulation and carry no risk of rust. Corrugated asbestos sheets could be found in a building’s roofing or siding. While corrugated asbestos sheets were not widely used in home construction, they are common fixtures on older factories and farms. 
  • Asbestos flatsheets are a better and more water-resistant insulator than traditional plywood drywall. Asbestos flatsheets were used to construct interior walls and floor underlays. 
  • Asbestos boards, also known as cement wallboard and asbestos millboard. This material was used to fireproof boilers and stoves and was widely incorporated into automotive parts. 
  • Asbestos lumber, made from asbestos fibers rather than actual wood. This so-called “lumber” was used as a roofing material, in siding, and to create false brick facades. 

Determining If Your Asbestos Cement Sheets Are Dangerous 

Asbestos cement sheets are made from asbestos-based substances and mixtures. 

However, these construction sheets are not solely comprised of asbestos. Instead, asbestos could be found in concentrations between 10% and 15%. 

When asbestos cement sheets are left undisturbed, they pose practically no risk to human health. 

How to Tell If Your Home’s Cement Sheeting is Asbestos-Contaminated 

Asbestos cement sheets are not inherently dangerous when they are in good condition. However, they could present a significant hazard if they are broken, cracked, or destroyed. While only a trained professional can confirm or deny the presence of asbestos in a home, some tell-tale signs of asbestos cement include: 

  • Brand. Many American companies, such as the CertainTeed Corporation, Eagle-Pitcher, and Garlock, Inc., produced asbestos-based cement sheets. If your sheeting has a visible stamp, product number, or other identifying information, you may be able to check the company’s website, or a law firm’s database, to see if it was made from asbestos. 
  • Coloration. The E.P.A. banned asbestos-based roofing and siding materials over 40 years ago, meaning that most asbestos-contaminated materials are rather old. While the color of cement sheeting does not necessarily indicate the presence of asbestos, older, more weathered sheets are likely to contain asbestos. 
  • Texture. Cement sheets made from asbestos often have a characteristic surface texture, that may look and feel like the grooves on a golf ball. However, some asbestos-based cements have different textures. 

Asbestos Cement Is Still Present In Many Pre-1980s Buildings and Construction.

Most cement sheets sold in the United States after the 1980s do not contain asbestos.

However, ordinary fibrous cements can be visibly indistinguishable from asbestos-laced cements. If your home was built between the 1920s and the 1970s, you should presume that asbestos is present and perform or request an asbestos test before engaging in any significant renovation or demolition work. 


If you may have been exposed to asbestos, speak with your healthcare provider about tests and screening to help detect the presence of asbestos fibers and asbestos-related damage.

AsbestosClaims.Law is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos. We hope this information helps you.

If you believe that your home was contaminated with asbestos, you could be entitled to significant compensation—money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being. 

In addition to legal claims, veterans disability, social security and employment protection like workers compensation, FELA and The Jones Act for maritime workers, there are asbestos trusts that have been set up to compensate those harmed by asbestos without having to file a lawsuit.
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, including testing for exposure or how to file a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (833) 4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) or (206) 455-9190.