Over time, breathing the dust from drywall joint compounds may cause persistent throat and airway irritation, coughing, phlegm production, and breathing difficulties similar to asthma. Smokers or workers with sinus or respiratory conditions may risk even worse health problems.
Toxicity: Small amounts are harmless. Expected symptoms: No symptoms with small amounts. If several mouthfuls are swallowed it might cause minor constipation or a light-colored stool. If a child puts a glob of hard, dry spackle into their mouth it could cause choking.
1 Answer. At best, breathing drywall or drywall compound (mud) dust can irritate your respiratory system and is best avoided.
Powdered drywall muds are zero-VOC, but they can still contain additives that could be bothersome for some. All-Purpose type compound is used as the first step (and can be the only type used) in setting the tape in the seams. This type has the least amount of additives.
What the documentation says: The Safety Data Sheet for USG's standard joint compound does not call out any especially serious risks although the material is classified as a "Hazardous Chemical" as defined by the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.
There are indeed toxic chemicals in conventional, ready-to-use, premixed joint compounds. And all conventional premixed joint compounds contain biocides, the chemical preservatives that increase shelf life and prevent the wet, ready-made products from growing bacteria and mold.
While there, the drywall chemical slowly reacts to form hydrogen sulfide gas. Not only does it stinks, it is toxic. Hydrogen sulfur causes pipe damage and corrodes wires in the house. Worse, exposure to the gas can cause respiratory illnesses in humans.
Does Drywall Off-Gas? Historically, because drywall is made mainly from gypsum, a natural material, off-gassing was not generally seen as a problem. About a decade ago, however, imported drywall from China was found to contain high levels of sulfur.
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