From the early 1900s to the early 1980s, most plumbers worked with materials that contained asbestos. The fibers were affordable and resisted both heat and corrosion, making them a good choice for pipes, gaskets, and joints. What the plumbers didn’t discover until about the mid-70s was that breathing in the asbestos fibers could prove fatal.
Unlike dust, the human respiratory system can’t rid itself of asbestos fibers. The spiral-shaped and needle-shaped fibers embed themselves into the tissues surrounding the heart, stomach, and inside the lungs. The fibers build up, irritating the tissue until they create scars or cancerous cells that eventually turn into asbestosis or mesothelioma. Both medical conditions are severe and can only be caused by asbestos exposure.
If you’ve been diagnosed with either mesothelioma and asbestosis, you shouldn’t give up hope. While the overall prognosis isn’t good, not all is lost. Doctors have gotten better at both identifying the illnesses while in the initial stages and treating them. As a result, plumbers with either mesothelioma and asbestosis receive a more optimistic life expectancy and enjoy a high quality of life even after they’ve been diagnosed.
Asbestos Products Used by Plumbers
Plumbers are frequently tasked with planning jobs, installing new pipes, and repairing older pipes. Some job sites may include working with materials that are old and still made with asbestos fibers. When a plumber enters a home or commercial building that has pipes dating back to before the early 1980s, they should make wear the appropriate safety gear, including a respirator, before cutting into any pipes. This can reduce the chances of asbestos exposure.
Items commonly used in the plumbing trade that contained asbestos include:
- Block Insulation
- Diatomaceous Earth mixed Asbestos Fiber
- Hydrous Calcium Silicate
- Elbow/Joint Compound
- Laminated asbestos Sponge Felt
- Amosite Sheeting
- Carbonate of Magnesia
If you worked as a plumber prior to 1980 and believe you have been exposed to asbestos, inform your doctor. Your doctor will ensure you receive regular screenings to help detect mesothelioma or asbestosis early. This can help provide you with better treatment options and increase your life expectancy.
Compensation for Asbestos-Related Illnesses
When the government realized just how many people could potentially develop mesothelioma or asbestosis, steps were taken to make sure that the illnesses didn’t cause financial hardship. Approximately $30 billion was earmarked for cases of asbestos-related illnesses and will be used to ensure that those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis don’t have to worry about paying their medical bills and are able to concentrate all their energy on fighting the illness.
If you’ve received a diagnosis with an asbestos-related illness, it is worth your while to speak to an asbestos lawyer to learn more about compensation and the legal options available to you.