Asbestos can be extremely dangerous if inhaled and may lead to the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma. Unfortunately, asbestos was a commonly used material up until the 1970’s, and can still be found in walls, construction materials, and paints used during that time. If you were exposed to asbestos, it is crucial that you are aware of the potential dangers. Not everyone exposed to asbestos shows clear signs of health problems, and some may not exhibit symptoms until it is too late. However, if you are aware of how people are commonly exposed to asbestos, it might help you and your family avoid unnecessary medical issues.
A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos can be found across the world and has been widely used for its useful fibrous structure. Back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, asbestos was commonly used in construction materials because it was so durable and heat resistant. Eventually, asbestos was linked to multiple dangerous diseases, including malignant mesothelioma. The danger begins when asbestos is inhaled. Although the fibers may remain dormant for years, they can gradually cause irritation in the lungs and other parts of the upper body, leading to serious health issues.
How Was Asbestos Used?
Due to its known durability, asbestos was used in many different types of materials. Records show that even the Ancient Egyptians used asbestos for textiles and building materials. In our time, asbestos products were especially valuable for their resistance to heat. Asbestos was used to create various building materials, textiles, insulation, roofing, cement, plastics, boilers, pipes, and brake linings. The materials were used in nearly every industry, especially construction, shipbuilding, and the automotive industry.
People Commonly Exposed to Asbestos
Because asbestos products were commonly used in home insulation, paints, and other construction materials, anyone in an older home could be exposed. Asbestos was officially banned in 1977, so any home constructed before that time could potentially house asbestos products. Fortunately, these materials are rarely dangerous unless the fibers are stirred up and inhalable. In the case of homes with asbestos materials, the danger is most relevant for construction workers.
In most cases, individuals harmed by asbestos were exposed to it on a regular basis through their work. Whether their company was unaware of the dangers of asbestos, ignorant of the presence of asbestos, or they failed to provide proper protective equipment, the results are often the same. Now, OSHA has multiple strict rules in place to protect workers from asbestos exposure, but until the 1980’s, many workers were left at their company’s discretion.
Some of the most common industries and professions tied to asbestos exposure include:
- HVAC workers
- Oil refinery workers
- Shipyard workers
- Power plant workers
- Navy engine room workers
Although these are some of the most common jobs through which individuals may be exposed to asbestos, there are plenty of other circumstances that can lead to exposure. If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos and suffered a serious medical issue as a result, our firm wants to help.
Individuals exposed to asbestos are in danger of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other types of cancers. If you became ill after you were exposed to asbestos, make sure you take immediate action to protect yourself and exercise your legal rights.
Contact Shrader & Associates L.L.P.for help with your asbestos case.