A popcorn ceiling was created as a result to make home interior design look good by concealing flaws and enhancing the appearance of ceilings. It is also for its soundproofing and fireproofing properties. It was created in the 1920s, but gained popularity in the 1950s. White asbestos was frequently used in ceiling treatments to increase the material’s power to last and against fire resistance. As a result, asbestos fibers cause a variety of health issues, such as chronic coughing, phlegm, shortness of breath, and asbestosis. In the most severe cases, which are difficult to detect and can quickly spread throughout the body. In this regard, the use of asbestos in building products was stopped by the Clean Air Act preventing health problems. Next, we will discuss when did they stop using asbestos in popcorn ceilings.

What is the history of asbestos?

White asbestos, known as chrysotile, was discovered in Thetford Township, Quebec, Canada, in 1876. Following its discovery, Canada made the first commercial asbestos mines in the world. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral and silicate in nature. The term “cottage cheese ceiling” refers to an asbestos popcorn ceilings and how it will stopped

The United State has stopped using asbestos in making popcorn ceiling as assumed.

The most common types of Asbestos

#1. Crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos. Because of its extremely thin fibers, it is the most deadly type of asbestos. It originated in Australia and was used to insulate steam engines; however, it is now found in spray-on coatings, pipe insulations, plastics, and cement products.

#2. Chrysotile (white asbestos) is mined in the United States, Canada, China, and Russia. It is the most common type of asbestos in the world and a fibrous form of the mineral serpentine. Some countries permit “controlled use,” and 95 percent of Asbestos Containing Building Materials (ACBM) discovered in developing countries will be chrysotile and used in cement building materials.

#3. Amosite, a native to South Africa, is used to make cement sheets and high-temperature heat-capacity pipe insulation.

What Is an Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling?

Asbestos popcorn ceilings were first popular in Canada and then became common in American homes until 1979. The rough edges in the ceilings were give over because the cottage cheese ceilings were simple to install. Popcorn ceilings were more than just a decorative choice for home builders. It was also visually and acoustically deafening.

Popcorn ceilings were popular because they could:

  • Finish any incomplete ceilings.
  • Cover up flaws
  • Absorbtion of noise and echoes.

As a result, from the 1930s to the 1990s, the popcorn finish was popular and widespread in homes.

At the time, asbestos was hailed as a wonder material: non-flammable, durable, light, cheap, and an extra ingredient as a fire-proofer to a wide range of materials. Unfortunately, the discovery of the material cause health issues and has result in the deaths of those who is suppose to protect and that’s why the use of asbestos was put to stop in making popcorn ceilings.

The use of asbestos in popcorn ceiling finishes was put to stop by the United States government in 1977, and most ceilings installation after that date will not contain asbestos. However, it is still possible that materials made before 1977 still exist in homes following the ban.

Ceiling materials do not typically expire, so wholesalers, hardware stores, and contractors would have continued to work with the asbestos-containing materials in their inventories before ordering safer materials.

Health risk associated with Asbestos in Popcorn Ceilings

Without specialized testing, asbestos fibers are invisible and undetectable. Asbesto can be inhaled or swallowed. They become embedded in the soft tissue of the chest or abdominal cavity once inside the body and are impossible to remove.

Asbestos fibers are responsible for a variety of health issues, including chronic coughing, phlegm, shortness of breath, and asbestosis. In the most severe cases, the fibers cause cancerous tumors known as mesothelioma, which are difficult to detect and spread rapidly throughout the body.

Mesothelioma has a long latency period and can develop decades after the initial exposure. As a result, it can be difficult for mesothelioma patients to pinpoint the exact location of their exposure.

How does an asbestos popcorn ceiling look?

How can you tell if your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos? Popcorn ceilings are typically painted white and speckled with small, popcorn-like kernels. You can’t tell if your textured paint contains asbestos just by looking at it. The asbestos fibers in the paint are 1,200 times thinner than human hair. As a result, if the toxic fibers are released into the air, you will not be able to see them.

Other colors of asbestos-containing spray-on textured paint are available. These paints were used on walls and some siding in addition to ceilings. Beginning in the 1970s, federal regulations prohibited the majority of these products. However, asbestos may be found in popcorn ceilings and other places in buildings and homes around this time.

As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends leaving materials alone unless you are wearing appropriate protective gear and cleaning up afterward.

How do I determine whether my ceilings tiles may contain asbestos?

Popcorn ceilings are easily identifiable because they have been in the mix with a material such as styrofoam or stucco, giving them a rough surface appearance reminiscent of popcorn.

Consider the following factors when determining the presence of asbestos in your ceiling tiles:

#1. First, look for any evidence of the manufacturer, such as a stamp on the back of a tile or installation records. Turn over a complete ceiling panel and look for an item number. Investigate the product to see if it contains asbestos. Manufacturers of asbestos ceiling materials include: Armstrong, Gypsum, Celotex, and the other companies

#2. Check the production date of the ceiling tiles – Find out when the building was built or duriing renovation or when the ceiling tile was put in. Asbestos is usually found in ceiling tiles installed before 1980.

#3. Find the pattern, size, or type of ceiling tile – Ceiling tiles made of asbestos are typically 9 by 9 inch or 12 by 12 inch white or off-white panels held up in a grid system.

Is asbestos used in all popcorn ceilings?

Popcorn ceilings are textured spray paints that were once made with dangerous amounts of asbestos and main reason why they had to stop the use of asbestos in making popcorn ceilings is prohibited. Textured ceilings are also known as stucco ceilings, stipple ceilings, cottage cheese ceilings, and acoustic ceilings. The style first gained popularity in the 1950s, when asbestos insulation was also widely used because it was simple to install and provided some sound and fireproofing.

Some popcorn ceilings may contain up to 10% asbestos. Although not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos, those constructed during and before the 1980s may be at high risk of contamination. The level of danger posed by asbestos-containing textured paint is determined by its overall condition. Materials in good condition (no tears, water damage, or crumbling areas) should usually be left alone and checked regularly.

If you discover that your ceilings are contaminated with the cancer-causing carcinogen, you have three options as a homeowner:

  • Absorption: Sealing asbestos-containing materials with an adhesive sealant to bind fibers together. Encapsulation can make later renovations more difficult.
  • Encasement: Cover the asbestos popcorn ceiling with ceiling panels or vinyl paint to prevent dust from escaping.
  • Removal: Complete removal of asbestos materials. Projects are frequently costly and necessitate the use of full-body protective gear to be completed safely.

When did businesses stop the use of asbestos in popcorn ceilings?

For many years, asbestos was used to make spray-applied textured materials. Nonetheless, because spray-on paints are easily inhaled by installers and residents, they were banned early on.

Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling Regulations Timeline

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first ban on spray-on “surfacing asbestos-containing material for fireproofing/insulating purposes” in 1973.

#1. 1978:

The EPA expand the ban to include spray-on paints that includes asbestos that has no cover by the previous regulation’s language.

#2. 1989:

The EPA outlawed the majority of asbestos-containing materials in 1989. However, the decision was reversed in 1991. The resulting legislation prohibited new asbestos uses after 1989, as well as 5 specific products (flooring felt, rollaboard, and corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper).

#3. 1990:

Another, more comprehensive ban applied to “buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless certain conditions are specified.”

#4. 2019:

The EPA’s Final Rule prohibits “textured paints (e.g., stucco-simulating paints) and block filler paints (e.g., for coating masonry).” The Final Rule prohibits asbestos-containing products from being resold without first being evaluated by the EPA.

When Is it Dangerous to Have an Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling?

The reason asbestos was put to stop in making popcorn ceilings. Asbestos-containing products, in general, become dangerous when fibers are released into the air. As a result, bonded building materials like cement or vinyl floor tiles are far safer than friable materials. As spray-on ceiling treatment ages, it becomes more brittle, making asbestos fibers more easily removed. However, as long as it is in good condition and not disturbed, popcorn ceilings pose no health risks. If you have this product in your home, you should avoid disturbing it by doing the following:

  • You should not remodel your ceiling (by drilling, sawing, and sanding, as well as by nailing, pinning, or taping various items to the ceiling, toxic dust will be released into the air).
  • When moving furniture in the room, take care not to touch the ceiling.
  • There should be no contact of any kind with the ceiling.
  • If possible, keep the furniture at least one foot below the ceiling level.
  • Avoid using bunk beds because anyone sleeping near the ceiling, especially children, may accidentally disturb it.

What are the most common asbestos-related symptoms?

Patients with mesothelioma and those who have been exposed to popcorn ceilings have reported the following adverse reactions:

  • Breathing difficulties, wheezing, or hoarseness
  • A chronic cough that worsens over time
  • Sputum (fluid) coughed up from the lungs contains blood.
  • Chest discomfort or tightness
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the face or neck
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight reduction
  • Chronic coughing caused by fatigue or anemia

What Should I Do If I Have Asbestos Exposure?

The time between asbestos exposure and the onset of asbestos-related illnesses can range between 5 and 40 years. Any openinig to asbestos, you will not experience any immediate symptoms of asbestos poisoning. Asbestos-related side effects may cause a cough or abdominal growth years later.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Individuals who have asbestos diagnosis related disease at a cancer medical center are frequently eligible for legal compensation.

How do I know if my popcorn ceiling has asbestos?

The only way to prove the presence of asbestos in popcorn ceilings is to conduct asbestos testing. The EPA advises hiring a professional to test materials and the air in your home for contamination due to the risk of toxic exposure.

When did asbestos stop being used in popcorn?

Popcorn ceilings were made with paper fiber after asbestos was largely banned in 1978. Suppliers, on the other hand, were legally allowed to sell their existing inventory of asbestos-containing products. As a result, popcorn ceilings were common in homes until the mid-1980s.

Would a house built in 1980 have asbestos?

Even homes built in the 1980s may have asbestos in the floor tiles, ceilings, pipe cement, and other products and materials. This is due to the EPA’s failure to extend the asbestos ban to all newly mobile products until 1989.

What happens if you remove the popcorn ceiling with asbestos?

Leave the ceiling alone or hire an asbestos removal contractor. You will contaminate your home with asbestos if you remove this ceiling dry, and you will expose yourself and your family to potentially high concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers.

What happens if you breathe in asbestos once?

After a single exposure to asbestos, it is possible to develop an illness such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural effusions, or lung cancer if the exposure was significant enough to cause asbestos particles to lodge in the body’s tissues.

Is it safe to live with a popcorn ceiling?

To summarize, removing a popcorn ceiling can raise the value of your home. However, specific circumstances can have an impact on its impact. Removing popcorn ceilings from a smaller home may not be a good use of renovation funds. A fresh coat of paint may be a better option due to cost as long as it is in good condition.


Even though asbestos-containing ceiling treatments were officially prohibited by the Clean Air Act in 1978, their use ended in the mid-1980s, when manufacturers were allowed to use up their inventory. As a result, it is very likely that any house built before this time has it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does popcorn ceiling always have asbestos?

Some popcorn ceilings may contain up to 10% asbestos. Although not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos, those constructed during and before the 1980s may be at high risk of contamination.

What is the lifespan of asbestos?

The average survival time for mesothelioma is 12-21 months. However, depending on the type of mesothelioma, stage at diagnosis, and overall health, many people live for much longer.

Can you live a normal life with asbestos?

A lot of people who are exposed to asbestos do not develop serious or life-threatening lung disease. However, if you have symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pain, you should always seek medical attention. Consult your doctor about any previous or current jobs that may have exposed you to asbestos.

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