Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was used in construction, insulation, and manufacturing for decades.
After asbestos exposure was linked to an increased risk of mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other diseases, asbestos was banned in the U.S. in the 1970s. However, many workers were exposed to asbestos-containing products in the workplace in the decades before the ban went into effect.
Many other workers are still at risk of asbestos exposure as a result of parts or other materials containing asbestos that were installed before the use of asbestos was restricted, but are still present in older homes, buildings, machines, or vehicles.
➢ Jobs With a High Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Here is a list of some of the most common jobs where workers are at risk of asbestos exposure:
- Aircraft Mechanics: Aircraft mechanics who repair airplanes, helicopters, or other aircraft at airports or aircraft hangers may be exposed to asbestos in brake pads, gaskets, wiring, or other aeronautical parts. Many aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force between the 1930s and the 1980s used parts that contained asbestos components.
- Boilermakers: The large boilers found at power plants, ships, or large industrial sites often contain large amounts of asbestos. Boilers also often contain parts such as fans, pumps, soot blowers, and valves which may contain asbestos. Because of the presence of asbestos in large boilers, the CDC says that boilermakers face one of the highest on-the-job risks of asbestos exposure of any occupation.
- Carpenters: Until a few decades ago, many homes and other buildings were built with materials — including asphalt floor tile, caulking, cement wallboard, putty, sheet flooring, siding, vinyl floor tile, and vinyl wall coverings — that contained asbestos. Carpenters who worked with asbestos-containing materials such as these many be at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases.
- Construction Workers: Thousands of construction products that were used in buildings before the 1980s contained asbestos. Although demolition workers and home renovators face the greatest risk of asbestos exposure, other construction workers — including electricians, engineers, equipment operators, estimators, inspectors, laborers, pipefitters, roofers, and superintendents — may also be at risk of being exposed to asbestos.
- Firefighters: One of the most dangerous professions in regard to the risk of asbestos exposure is firefighting. Because many older buildings contain asbestos materials, when fires occur in these structures, firefighters can be exposed to significant quantities of airborne asbestos particles. Many firefighters who were present at Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or other asbestos diseases in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
- Hairdressers: Until a few decades ago, many hair dryers that were used in beauty salons contained asbestos insulation. These dryers released toxic asbestos particles into the surrounding environment that could place hairdressers or other beauty salon workers at risk of contracting an asbestos disease.
- HVAC Workers: Workers who repair or install heating, ventilation, and air condition systems often work in tightly enclosed spaces. Because many of these systems contain parts made from asbestos, HVAC workers, boilermakers, and pipefitters face a significant risk of asbestos exposure.
- Industrial Workers: Workers at chemical plants, factories, power plants, and other industrial settings face a significant risk of asbestos exposure as a result of insulation, gaskets, paper, valves, and protective clothing used on these sites that contains asbestos. More industrial workers die from mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases than any other profession.
- Refinery Workers: Many of the cements, electrical products, insulation, and protective equipment that are used by workers at oil or petroleum refineries and chemical plants contain asbestos. As a result, workers on these jobsites may be at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. Studies have shown that refinery and chemical plant workers are often exposed to asbestos for prolonged periods of time, putting them at significant risk of asbestos illnesses.
- Painters: Painters often work with materials — including caulk, coatings, joint compounds, plaster, putty, and spackle — that contained asbestos until the 1980s. Cleaning, sanding, and scraping these materials can create airborne asbestos particles that can put painters at risk of asbestos exposure.
- Plumbers: Many plumbers work with home or small boilers that contain asbestos materials, or with parts such as fans, pumps, soot blowers, or valves that can also contain asbestos. The presence of asbestos in these boilers and boiler parts can place plumbers at a significant risk of asbestos-related diseases.
- Railroad Workers: Because of its effectiveness as insulation, asbestos was commonly found in trains and at train stations and other railroad sites during the 20th century. Many of these sites are still contaminated with asbestos, placing railroad workers at risk of mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases.
- Sailors and Shipyard Workers: For decades, many ships contained numerous parts that used asbestos insulation. As a result, sailors and shipyard workers faced a significant risk of asbestos exposure until these parts were banned. Veterans of the U.S. Navy or Merchant Marines may also have been exposed to asbestos from the asbestos-containing parts used in many naval vessels.
➢ Free Legal Consultation for Workers With Asbestos Diseases
Thousands of workers employed in the above professions or another job where they may have been exposed to asbestos have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, or other diseases linked to asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation from the asbestos trusts that were established to compensation victims of asbestos exposure.
The first step in filing a mesothelioma or asbestos lawsuit is to speak with an experienced asbestos attorney, who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first step in filing a claim.
For more information about filing an asbestos or mesothelioma lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Hissey Mulderig & Friend for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by answering a few simple questions in the free case evaluation form located on the right of this page.