Workplace Asbestos Exposure
Thousands of American workers have developed mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos on the job. Although the use of asbestos products has declined over the past decades, many workers are only now beginning to develop symptoms of an asbestos-related disease due to the long latency period of mesothelioma and other illnesses.
The largest percentage of deaths from mesothelioma occurs among workers in the construction industry. One of the most common sources of asbestos in home construction is the insulation used to prevent the escape of heat. In addition to the health risks of installing insulation, workers involved in home remodeling or demolition may be exposed to asbestos when this insulation is disturbed. Other construction workers, including sheet metal workers, plumbers, pipefitters, electricians and drywall installers may also be at risk of exposure to asbestos.
Industrial workers may also face health risks caused by asbestos, either through the manufacturing of asbestos-containing products or from the use of machinery or parts with asbestos components. Some of the industries which may place workers in danger of developing an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or lung cancer include the chemical industry, manufacturing, the electrical and power industries and petroleum refinement.
One of the most common sources of workplace asbestos exposure is onboard ships and in docks or shipyard. Many commercial and military ships contain asbestos insulation or asbestos parts that can place shipworkers and sailors at risk. Workers in shipyards may also be exposed to asbestos from the products either indirectly or from repairing ships. Thousands of sailors in the U.S. Navy or Merchant Marines may have also been exposed to asbestos during their time in the military.
Workers many other industries may also be at risk of developing mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or other diseases as a result of asbestos exposure. Some of the other industries that carry asbestos-related health risks include teachers in elementary or secondary schools, mining workers, railroad or railyard workers and farming or agricultural workers.