The history of asbestos is long and tangled. The naturally occurring mineral was used widely during the 20th century as an incredibly effective insulator. Being waterproof, heatproof and even soundproof, it was seen as something of a miracle in construction.
It was also highly dangerous and, from the 1960s onwards, little by little there has been a push back against it. It was in the 1970s that it became apparent that mesothelioma cancer and other respiratory illnesses were being caused by asbestos. However, it was not until the nineties that laws were passed to make sure only trained professionals could handle the product and its usage became seriously limited.
Where are you exposed?
Because buildings built before regulation can still contain asbestos and certain traces of it are still used, there are multiple professions where one could be exposed to asbestos. Insulation, mining and railway work are all typical of jobs where exposure can occur.
It is of the utmost importance to remember that Mesothelioma Lawyers are available to you to help you gain compensation, should you suffer from prolonged exposure to asbestos. It is a serious problem and you should treat it as such.
The Top 5 Jobs Where Exposure Occurs
Workers who work with insulation products, where asbestos fibres are present, are left open to a chance of serious disease. Mesothelioma and other cancers of the lung occur when the fibres are inhaled and can even cause secondary exposure. This means not only are those in these professions at risk, but also their families.
Railroad workers are perhaps the most exposed, with studies conducted in the 1980s showing as much as 21% of workers in the United States, 50 years old or greater had likely asbestos exposure. This can come from insulation on old diesel trains, plaster, sealing cement and other equipment, even the floor tiles on passenger cars.
The use of asbestos in products frequently used in shipyards was rife. In fact, there were several controversies and legal disputes throughout the 1980s with regard to the US Navy’s use and cover-ups of asbestos and the health risks it brings.
That the material was able to resist corrosion and high temperatures made it ideal for the shipping industry. It was used to insulate everything from incinerators to steam and water pipes. The dust that built up from the machinery would be ingested by the workers causing widespread examples of lung cancer.
While asbestos isn’t used as frequently as it was in the mid 20th century, it is still a problem and anyone who comes into regular exposure to asbestos fibres should take heed and get checked. Illnesses can slip under the radar and if left untreated can grow much worse. Precaution is the key.