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Drywall and Joint Compound

Low Risk

Also known as:

drywall mud gypsum board joint compound plasterboard Sheetrock® wallboard

construction worker with drywall
Possible Symptoms
  • Skin Irritation
  • Minor upset stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222for additional instructions

Additional Information

Quick Facts about drywall:

Drywall is a panel made of a layer of calcium sulfate dihydrate (also called gypsum) between thick sheets of paper. It is used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings. If a person accidentally ingests a small piece, it can pose a choking risk. Additionally, if someone is choking, call 911. If a person swallows a piece of drywall, it can be mildly irritating to the stomach with no serious symptoms expected.
Is drywall toxic?
Certainly, the main hazard associated with handling drywall is the dust released from frequent cutting. This dust can irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs and lead to coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, runny nose and sometimes nose bleeds. Extensive exposure to dust for long periods, without wearing the proper protective equipment, can cause more severe symptoms such as trouble breathing and pneumonia. To minimize exposure to the dust, wear loose-fitting clothing made of a dust-tight material, goggles, and a dust mask.
Is drywall mud toxic?
Drywall mud fills in the joint spaces between panels and as a compound to fill in cracks and holes. It is also a gypsum-based mix known as joint compound. Once it dries, it creates a nuisance dust when the joint compound becomes smooth, leading to the same symptoms as with drywall listed above.

Is this safe for pregnant women?

To date, there is no data available to assess the potential effects of exposure during pregnancy or lactation. Therefore, it is best for pregnant women to avoid being around drywall and joint compound dust whenever possible.
If you find someone has eaten a small amount of drywall or drywall mud, do not panic. Wipe out their mouth and give them some water to drink. If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.
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