Popcorn ceilings often contain asbestos

Popcorn ceilings fell out of favor, but they were commonplace in buildings built or renovated from the 1950s to the 1980s. Also known as stucco or acoustic, builders especially liked these textured ceilings that hid imperfections and offered a certain level of fire resistance and soundproofing. Unfortunately, this bumpy spray-on technique employed asbestos which caused mesothelioma and was eventually banned.

How dangerous is it?

These ceilings often contained 1% to 10% asbestos, and even the lowest amount should be cause for concern. While asbestos is relatively safe if left undisturbed, these ceilings tend to break down or crumble over time, releasing toxic dust into the air. Occupants in rooms with this dust can inhale it, leading to serious and life-threatening mesothelioma and other issues like chronic coughing, asbestosis or lung cancer.

Identifying the risk

A visual inspection is unreliable. Instead, homeowners or landlords should have the ceiling professionally analyzed. Professionals can come to the space and remove samples for lab testing, or the owners or occupants can take their own samples – if choosing this option, use extreme caution, wear a mask and wipe down the space afterward.

How to remove the risk

There are three options for addressing a popcorn ceiling with asbestos. They are:

  1. Hire a professional to remove the ceiling.
  2. Hire a professional to encapsulate it behind new ceiling panels.
  3. Hire a professional to encase it with special vinyl paint.

Extensive treatments necessary

Seek medical help immediately if you start experiencing the symptoms of mesothelioma or realize that you were exposed. Doctors conduct extensive clinical evaluations that involve blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, and general physical examinations. Treatments can include removing malignant tumors, part of or entire lungs, or the diaphragm. Mesothelioma is often a terminal illness, and many patients seek legal guidance if they are exposed to a crumbling popcorn ceiling at work or in a space they do not own.