July 26, 2011 – Electricians are one of the types of workers most at risk of asbestos exposure. Because asbestos was regularly used in construction materials before its use was banned in the United States in 1989., electricians working in a building constructed prior to the 1980’s are often at risk of inhaling asbestos and contracting such fatal diseases as asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. From 1990 to 1999, the most frequently listed occupation (24%) on U.S. death certificates of persons who died from asbestosis was “construction”. Of those, 4.4% listed “electrician” or “former electrician” as their specific field of work.
In addition, in the past decade there have been major lawsuits against large corporations for exposing electricians to the asbestos that resulted in their death. In 2006, an Ohio appeals court ruled that General Motors knew that an electrician was in danger from asbestos in the insulation on steam pipes and in wiring. In 2007, a wrongful death suit was settled with the family of a California electrician who died of malignant mesothelioma. In 2010, a jury in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania found eight manufacturers liable for the pleural mesothelioma death of former Navy electrician.