Asbestos exposure is a potential risk in any industry. Workplace asbestos exposure is one of the most common ways that people encounter the substance. However, some industries are at a higher risk than others, owing to the nature of the work and the worksite. Exposure to asbestos can cause deadly respiratory conditions including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer infecting the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Although asbestos is heavily regulated now, workers may still encounter it, and those who were exposed years ago may still be diagnosed today.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that was used for numerous commercial purposes until the 1970s, when the link between asbestos and cancer was firmly established. It is durable, versatile, flame-resistant, and inexpensive, which, for many years, made it an ideal additive in construction materials and consumer products. When asbestos fibers become airborne, they can be inhaled or ingested and lodge in the chest cavity, where they damage the surrounding tissue for decades.
Workers at Higher Risk
Construction workers are high on the list of those at risk for exposure. Asbestos was commonly used in insulation and in many construction materials, including drywall, roofing shingles, floor or ceiling tiles, paint, cement, plasters, and other products. When renovating or demolishing an older building, it is likely that workers will encounter the carcinogenic. Some workers may be tasked with removing asbestos materials to make buildings safer; without proper safety precautions, these workers could be at serious risk.
Firefighters encounter many of the same risks on the job. When firefighters enter a burning building, they do not know if it was constructed using asbestos, and the fire may release asbestos particles into the air. For many years, firefighters’ protective gear was made with asbestos, as it has heat- and fire-resistant properties. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that mesothelioma rates among firefighters are twice the national average.
There are numerous other industries in which workers may face higher risk. Workers in manufacturing or industrial roles, including assembly line workers, automotive and aviation mechanics, welders, and chemical plant or refinery workers, may encounter asbestos in both the products they produce and the tools they use. Asbestos was often used to insulate pipes and boilers, putting pipelayers, pipefitters, and steamfitters at risk. Maritime workers also encounter asbestos in older ships and shipyards, which contained high amounts of asbestos to prevent fires from spreading.
It is not just the current workforce who is at risk for asbestos-related disease. From 1940 to 1979, approximately 27.5 million workers were exposed to asbestos in the workplace, before the dangers of asbestos were widely understood. It can take 10 to 50 years for mesothelioma tumors to develop after exposure to asbestos, so some of these workers may still be at risk for developing the disease. Some workers may bring asbestos fibers home with them on their clothes, hair, or tools, putting their families at risk as well.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Victims of Workplace Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, call the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Shein Law. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team has successfully represented workers in all types of asbestos exposure cases, and we are committed to fighting for the compensation to which you are entitled. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.