We've all heard that asbestos exposure is “bad,” but do you know why? Asbestos is the main cause of pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lungs or abdominal cavity lining. The main risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, which is usually work-related. Asbestos exposure is the top work-related cause of death worldwide. More than 225,000 people globally will die from an asbestos-related disease each year, and more than a million U.S. workers are at risk of asbestos exposure at work.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?
Asbestos is a soft, fibrous mineral that is heat resistant. For years, manufacturers used asbestos in everything from building materials, floor tiles, bricks, insulation, and even pajamas. While the use of asbestos is now highly regulated, it's still used in brake pads, linings, and other auto friction products, oilfield brake blocks, sheet gaskets used in chemical production facilities, and more. But people can also face exposure to asbestos from old asbestos used in construction. When asbestos is disturbed through mining, demolition, fire, or other means, the fibers can end up in the air and water, where people can inhale or ingest them. Most people encounter asbestos through work.
High-Risk Asbestos Exposure Jobs
Some workers naturally face more risk of asbestos exposure, including:
- Construction workers: Construction workers are often exposed to asbestos during the demolition or remodeling of older buildings. Manufacturers once commonly used asbestos in a wide range of construction materials to make them heat resistant and increase strength, including bricks, flooring, insulation, pipes, and more.
- Firefighters: Because firefighters are often near burning buildings, they can face asbestos exposure through the air when asbestos burns. Manufacturers also used asbestos in firefighting clothing, boots, and helmets.
- Power plant workers: Power plant workers often face exposure to asbestos from cutting old pipes. Asbestos was often found in fireproofing spray and pipe insulation.
- Industrial workers: Workers like mechanics, chemical workers, and machinery operators can also face asbestos exposure from brake pads, gaskets, paper, textiles, insulation, and fireproofing.
- Shipyard workers: Many mesothelioma lawsuits come from shipyard workers for the U.S. government and Navy veterans. They can face asbestos exposure through demolition, decommissioning ships, and repairing ships with old materials containing asbestos.
- Demolition crews: Workers involved in asbestos remediation and decontamination also risk asbestos exposure, particularly if their employer doesn't take the steps necessary to protect their workers.
- Insulators: Insulators are more than ten times likely to face a mesothelioma diagnosis than the general population. They face a much higher risk of asbestos exposure.
People who've worked in power plants, textile mills, steel mills, and boiler workers have also faced high rates of asbestos exposure in the past and may also be at increased risk for asbestos-related diseases.
Call The Cheek Law Firm, LLC
If you or a loved one are facing an asbestos-related disease or cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the attorneys at The Cheek Law Firm to set up a consultation for you or your loved one to discuss your options. Your consultation is free. Call us at 504-304-4333 or contact us online.