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Our Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Fight to Obtain Compensation for Workplace Asbestos Disease Victims

Is Occupational Asbestos Exposure Still an Issue?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. One of the most common sources of asbestos exposure is in the workplace. For much of the 20th century, workers in numerous industries regularly encountered asbestos with no safeguards. Workplace asbestos exposure is significantly lower today, but asbestos is still a hazard in some industries.

Asbestos has been heavily regulated since the 1980s. Asbestos was used for various commercial purposes. The naturally occurring mineral is versatile, durable, and heat- and flame-resistant, making it an ideal additive in construction materials and some consumer products.

Legacy Asbestos in the Workplace

Much workplace asbestos exposure today is related to legacy asbestos, or asbestos that was put in place before the regulations. Many older homes and buildings, including offices, schools, and retail spaces, still have asbestos materials, such as drywall, insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, roof shingles, pipe and boiler insulation, adhesives, paints, cement products, and more. As these buildings age, asbestos materials may degrade, and remodeling or demolishing buildings can release asbestos dust into the air. Construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and others may be at risk. Even firefighters and other first responders may face asbestos hazards if a fire disturbs a building containing asbestos.

Asbestos is also a risk at manufacturing plants where machines with asbestos parts have not been replaced, including some food processing plants with cement water pipes containing asbestos. There are still automotive parts containing asbestos in circulation, such as brakes, brake linings, and gaskets, and mechanics may encounter them while doing repairs without realizing it. Asbestos was used heavily on ships to prevent fires, so maritime workers, including U.S. Navy workers, may also be exposed.

New Asbestos Exposure Risks

Despite its limited use today, new uses of asbestos also put workers at risk. Raw chrysotile asbestos, which is no longer mined in the U.S. but can be imported from other countries, is still used to produce chlor-alkali products and other chemicals. Some consumer products still contain asbestos, including talc-based products such as makeup and baby powder, and workers manufacturing these products may be exposed.

Mesothelioma has a long latency period. It can take 10 to 50 years for tumors to develop after the initial asbestos exposure, meaning that anyone exposed in the 1980s or earlier may still receive a mesothelioma diagnosis. Workers today who are dangerously exposed to asbestos may not develop an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, for another few decades. Mesothelioma symptoms often mimic other conditions, so workers need to alert physicians to their exposure risk so that a diagnosis can be made early.

Strict regulations from two agencies protect today’s workers: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The EPA sets restrictions on using asbestos and requires companies to report it in their products and processes. OSHA has established strict safety standards for handling asbestos in the workplace and can impose sanctions on employers who do not follow them. Workers are required to wear proper protective gear, including respiratory protection, and shower and change in designated areas to avoid cross-contamination. Employers must provide thorough training on asbestos handling procedures and monitor exposure levels, and any asbestos hazards onsite must be clearly labeled.

Our Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Fight to Obtain Compensation for Workplace Asbestos Disease Victims

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos disease after workplace exposure, speak with our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. Call us today at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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