Jobs With Risk of Causing Asbestos Cancer – In the United States, about 3,000 people are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Thousands more are diagnosed with lung cancer, asbestosis and other serious illnesses as a direct result of coming into contact with this dangerous material.
A large majority of the people diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos on the job or while serving in the military. Workers in factories, shipyards, power plants, mills, auto shops, construction sites and industrial sites all faced a high risk of exposure. At these jobsites, workers often inhaled microscopic asbestos fibers, which can lodge in the lining of the lungs and chest wall, irritating the tissue and leading to serious diseases decades later.
Although many companies stopped using asbestos in their products in the mid-1970s, the damage had already been done for countless workers. Even today, the risk of exposure continues to be a threat, and the deadly mineral is still being used in some products.
Occupations at risk for asbestos exposure include (but are not limited to):
Aircraft Mechanics: Many types of civilian and military aircraft used asbestos insulation as well as parts such as gaskets, wiring and brake pads that contained asbestos. Mechanics who work on aircraft may have been exposed to asbestos while performing repairs and routine maintenance on planes and helicopters.
Boilermakers: Asbestos materials were used to insulate boilers for most of the 20th century, and because boilers are built to last for decades, those who work on maintaining and repairing them are still at risk of asbestos exposure. Boilermakers may have been exposed while cutting or trimming asbestos insultation or while replacing parts such as ductwork, valves, pressure gauges, boiler tubes and other components. Boilermakers also may have worn protective clothing such as aprons or gloves that were lined with asbestos.
Bricklayers: Prior to the 1980s, asbestos was frequently used in the manufacturing of bricks and mortar due to the material’s heat-resistant properties. Bricklayers and brick masons who sawed or trimmed bricks were at risk of asbestos exposure. Those who worked at construction sites, power plants, steel mills, brick kilns or furnaces may also have been exposed directly or just by working in the vicinity of asbestos materials.
Carpenters: Asbestos was frequently used in common building materials such as wallboards, insulation, fire doors, ceiling tiles, paints, plaster, caulks and joint compounds until the 1980s. Many carpenters worked with these asbestos-containing materials in spaces that were poorly ventilated, increasing their risk for inhaling the deadly fibers.
Cement Finishers: Asbestos was a common component in cement and concrete that was used to build homes, commercial buildings and other structures over the past century. Cement finishers would have been exposed to asbestos while mixing (often by hand), spreading and polishing concrete.
Crane Operators: Crane operators who use mechanical booms or tower and cable equipment to move building materials and construction debris may be exposed to asbestos dust. Crane operators at demolition or renovation sites, in particular, are at high risk of exposure as asbestos materials are destroyed and dust is released into the air. In addition, those who worked in shipyards starting during World War II faced a high risk of asbestos exposure.
Engineers: Instrumental in the design and construction of buildings and equipment, engineers were often present at job sites where asbestos materials were being used. Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials and industrial products until the 1980s. Many older buildings still contain asbestos, so even today, engineers are at risk of exposure when working at these job sites.
Firefighters: A major cause of cancer among firefighters is exposure to asbestos. These brave rescue workers often must rush into burning homes, commercial buildings and other structures that contain asbestos materials. The damage caused by a fire can release toxic asbestos dust into the air, putting firefighters at risk.
First Responders and Disaster Relief Workers: In addition to firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and other disaster relief workers are often exposed to asbestos while responding to catastrophic events that destroy old buildings. Asbestos dust can be inhaled during rescue and cleanup efforts, putting workers at risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious diseases.
Foundry Workers: Asbestos materials were commonly used in foundry equipment such as tanks, pumps, valves, ovens, boilers and furnaces. Foundry workers who installed, maintained, repaired or replaced asbestos-containing materials may have been exposed. Additionally, they may have worn protective clothing such as gloves and aprons that were lined with asbestos.
Laborers: Laborers who worked in factories or on construction sites faced a high risk for asbestos exposure due to the many asbestos-containing materials used on these jobsites. General laborers may have been asked to perform a range of duties without being given proper protective gear to prevent them from inhaling dangerous asbestos fibers.
Lathers: Walls in older homes and buildings were made of lathe and asbestos plaster or asbestos cement. Applying, sanding or removing these asbestos-containing materials put lathers at risk of inhaling the dangerous dust. In addition to working with plaster and all framework, lathers may have worked with ceiling tiles and duct work, which could increase their risk of exposure to asbestos dust.
Machinists: Machinists faced exposure to asbestos while fabricating metal parts and equipment such as valves, pumps, piping systems, ships and railroad parts that contained asbestos materials such as gaskets and insulation. Machinists who replaced valves and gaskets also risked exposure to dust when removing or replacing old materials. Much of the equipment machinists used to perform their work also contained asbestos components.
Mechanics: Most current and former mechanics have faced asbestos exposure, as the material was and is still commonly used in the automotive industry. Products such as brake pads, gaskets and clutches contain asbestos and can be found in vehicles on the road today. When mechanics must grind, sand or trim these asbestos materials, large amounts of dust are produced. Then air hoses and vacuums are used to clean the work area, further spreading the airborne asbestos particles.
Merchant Marine Seamen: Merchant Marines who worked on insulation for boilers, pipes, gaskets and packings, valves, and machinery on ships may have been exposed to asbestos. These asbestos materials were commonly used on ships through the 1970s, and they remained on vessels for many years afterward.
Millwrights: Millwrights often installed, maintained and repaired heat-producing industrial equipment that was insulated with asbestos materials. They also worked with asbestos valve packings, pipe coverings and gaskets. Millwrights would use metal grinders, saws, drills and other power tools in their work with asbestos-containing materials, releasing toxic dust into the air.
Navy Yard Workers: Naval yard workers faced a high risk of exposure due to the amount of asbestos materials used on Navy ships. Both veterans and civilian shipyard workers were exposed while building, maintaining and repairing vessels. Asbestos was commonly used in boiler and engine rooms, as well as throughout the ships on piping and other equipment.
Painters: Until the 1970s, asbestos was often used in paints (including spray paint and textured paint), caulks, spackling and joint compound, as well as a variety of other building materials. Painters who applied, mixed, sanded, scraped, taped, patched or otherwise worked with these asbestos materials may have been exposed. In older buildings, asbestos exposure remains a risk for painters.
Paper Mill Workers: Pulp and paper mill workers risked exposure to asbestos on a daily basis. Raw asbestos was used for many years in the production of materials such as fiber board, packaging and ceiling tiles. In addition, equipment at paper mills such as boilers and rolling machines contained asbestos. Asbestos dust was often trapped in poorly ventilated mills, putting everyone in the facility at risk of inhaling the cancer-causing fibers.
Pipe Coverers: Pipe coverers were frequently exposed to asbestos while fabricating and fitting asbestos insulation around boilers, tanks, pipes and refrigerators to prevent heat loss and condensation. These workers would measure and cut asbestos insulation for installation around pipes, ductwork and industrial equipment. They also would remove old or damaged asbestos insulation.
Pipe Fitters: Pipefitters often came into contact with asbestos while installing and repairing pipe systems. Up until the 1980s, asbestos was used to insulate pipes and provide strong seals in materials such as gaskets. Pipefitters would also connect pipes and perform work on boilers, pumps, valves and turbines that contained asbestos materials.
Plasterers: Many building materials such as decorative and acoustical plasters, textured paints and coatings, wall treatments, patching compounds, sealants, joint compounds and construction mastics contained asbestos. Plasterers who applied, sanded, grinded, cut or drilled into asbestos materials were at high risk of inhaling the toxic fibers.
Plumbers: When installing, repairing, cutting, bending or removing pipework, plumbers may have been exposed to a variety of asbestos materials. This includes pipe coating, pipe block, asbestos paper, valves, gaskets, packing, insulation, joint and elbow fillers, cement or mud, joint compound, felts and other materials. Still today, plumbers working on older pipe systems may come into contact with asbestos materials.
Sheetmetal Workers: Sheetmetal workers were often exposed to asbestos fibers while working with ventilation systems and ductwork that was insulated with asbestos. In fact, sheetmetal workers were often tasked with spraying asbestos onto ductwork as a way of fireproofing, a practice that was banned 1973 due to the serious health hazards of releasing asbestos fibers into the air.
Welders: Metal welders were frequently exposed to asbestos when fine fibers and dust were released into the air through smoke. Particularly in industrial settings and shipbuilding, welders worked on many types of equipment that contained asbestos. They also sometimes wore asbestos gloves and other protective gear. In addition, welding rods were sometimes coated with an asbestos mixture.
Financial Help for Those Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Companies that manufactured and sold asbestos products knew of the health risks but failed to warn workers of the danger. These companies can now be held financially responsible for the harm they have caused. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can explain your legal right to compensation and handle all the legwork related to your claim, so you can focus on your health. In addition, a skilled attorney can determine your eligibility and help you file for veterans’ benefits, Social Security Disability benefits or workers’ compensation benefits.
Schedule a free consultation with the team at Mesothelioma Help today to discuss your options for pursuing financial compensation to cover you or your loved one’s medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.