Asbestos Exposure

Many American workers through varied industries were exposed to asbestos while on the job or serving their country. As a result, they are now at higher risks for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.

The Most Common Form of Asbestos Exposure

Both construction workers and members of the military came into direct contact with asbestos fibers in the years between 1930 and 1980. During that time period, asbestos seemed like a miracle material which was capable of resisting fire.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s that anyone began to understand the long-term health problems connected to inhaling the fibers. Even when the danger became apparent, many companies and organizations continued using asbestos.

History of Asbestos Use in the U.S.

For years, the only people who were exposed to asbestos were minors, it wasn’t until the 1930’s and ‘40’s that the fibrous mineral started to be used in a wide assortment of industries that ran the gauntlet from auto care products to construction materials.

Post-WWII Shipyards

The group most likely to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are military veterans, especially those who served in the Navy during and after WWII.

The Navy even used the asbestos-laden products in ships and submarines in an attempt to reduce the risk of fire. No one dreamt that the same thing being used to preserve lives would later put those same lives in jeopardy.

Naval shipyard workers and sailors aren’t the only groups of people who have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. Others who should be getting regular screenings include:

  • Railroad workers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Factory workers
  • Construction workers
  • Miners
  • Electricians
  • Insulation workers
  • Automotive workers
  • Power plant/refinery workers
  • Plumbers

The Decline of Asbestos

Believe it or not, it’s actually not possible to say that asbestos is no longer being used in the United States because it is still in use in several different types of products and materials. There are however regulations in place that determine how the asbestos is used in commercial products. The regulations first started to be enforced in the 1980’s when people began to fully comprehend how much danger the asbestos fibers presented after they have been inhaled. 

Today the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked with keeping employees safe from a wide assortment of risks, including asbestos. The regulations have triggered a decrease in the number of mesothelioma cases.

A Threat Still Exists

No one should assume they no longer have to worry about asbestos exposure. Until the use of asbestos is banned entirely in the United States there will always be a chance of asbestos-related conditions developing. Today, most of the asbestos used by U.S. companies has been imported.

Why Is Occupational Exposure So Prevalent?

Fire Resistance and Insulation

The fire resistant nature of asbestos made it a popular choice for insulation which caused many electrical wires to be wrapped in the mineral. It was also found in nearly all brands of insulation at the time when asbestos was popular. Most of these materials were used in commercial buildings and on construction sites, in shipyards, and on ships.

Its use by the Armed Forces

Many former naval personnel who either served on ships or worked in naval yards have developed asbestos-related health problems since the military used asbestos for just about everything.

Where is Asbestos Found?

Materials that Contain Asbestos include:

  • Boilers and heating systems
  • Cement pipes
  • Several automotive parts including brake pads
  • Electrical wires
  • Chemical containment containers
  • Heat-protective pads
  • Roofing and flooring materials
  • Adhesives and sealants
  • Insulation products
  • Paper products
  • Drywall
  • Paints
  • Old buildings

Although there are regulations in place that restrict where, how, and the type of asbestos used, it’s still fairly common and you should be aware of the dangers.

Individuals who were exposed to asbestos in the past and who have developed mesothelioma are entitled to receive compensation from the same companies that exposed them to the asbestos thanks to the creation and access to asbestos trust funds. Find out if you’re eligible to access these funds.


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