Asbestos has been used for a variety of applications. Not only is it heat resistant, it is also strong, flexible, easy to work with, and resistant to corrosion. In the 1970s, however, medical researchers linked mesothelioma, asbestosis, and some lung cancers to asbestos exposure, ending asbestos’ run as a wonder material.
Because it can take 20 to 50 years for a patient to exhibit symptoms of mesothelioma, by the team there was a clear link between asbestos and cancer, countless people had been exposed to it at work, home, and school.
Because of its amazing properties, many industries used asbestos. For decades, it had been considered an essential part of refineries, textile mills, steel mills, car manufacturing, and more. Even when they heard about the long-term health disasters connected to asbestos, many people were against the idea of removing it from buildings and safety equipment. They felt that by leaving the fibers in protective clothing and fire resistant insulation, employers were protecting their employees. After a protracted battle, workers in various industries decided that the only way to resolve the matter was to bring in union reps to serve as a go-between for the employers and the employees who were against the use of asbestos in the workplace.
The Auto Industry & Asbestos
After a great deal of negation, the auto industry not only agreed to stop using tools and insulation that contained asbestos, they also looked for different material for the brake pads and clutches they were installing in cars. Not only did this help spare the lives of the workers in the auto production plants, it also helped the mechanics who were exposed to asbestos while replacing old parts.
Dockyard Workers & Asbestos
To this day, a majority of new mesothelioma cases are connected to ship fitters and dockyard workers. There was a time when asbestos touched nearly every aspect of the Navy and nautical shipping industry. Not only was asbestos used to insulate, protect, and paint the ships, it was also found in pallets and shipping containers. The union reps had to work hard to convince the shipyards to stop using asbestos. There are still some old ships that have asbestos paint and insulation.
Bricklayers and Masons
Bricklayers and Masons frequently worked with mortar and other compounds that contained asbestos. As bricklayers and masons repaired and reconstructed old bricks and walls in older homes and buildings, asbestos would become airborne, putting them at risk for exposure.
If the mortar had come premixed, then bricklayers and masons probably wouldn’t have to worry about mesothelioma, but that wasn’t usually the case. It started out as a powder, and more often than not, the bricklayer got a face full of asbestos dust each time they prepared to make a new batch. Union reps made sure that after 1980, the mortar was asbestos-free.
This is just a small sampling of the industries that were impacted by asbestos use. Numerous industries from textiles to construction have been negatively impacted because of the threat of asbestos.
If you have developed health problems and believe it is connected to asbestos, you owe it to yourself and your family to meet with an asbestos attorney and learn about your legal options. Individuals whose health has been compromised because of occupational hazards such as asbestos exposure may be eligible for compensation to help cover their medical care. Speak to an attorney today to learn more.