Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that forms in the lungs. Its only known cause is from long-term exposure to asbestos, which is most often job-related. The durable mineral was a popular building material in a number of industries through the mid-1970s when its dangerous effects were first discovered. For decades, workers breathed in asbestos particles in the air in certain industries that often used the mineral. Years later, workers began to develop mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer. Some industries, such as those listed below, used asbestos the most, putting workers in these industries at a significant risk for developing the disease.
Due to its fire-resistant qualities, asbestos was heavily used in the construction industry between 1920 and 1980 in a variety of products found within the floors, walls, insulation, pipes and roofs of most buildings built during that time.
Any workers who came into contact with a construction site, whether for plumbing, plaster work, welding, laying cement, installing flooring or working with sheet metal, were at a great risk of being exposed to asbestos.
When firefighters enter a burning building that was built with asbestos-laced materials, they are exposed to the particles that are released into the air. Those particles can remain in the air even after a fire has been put out.
Through the mid-1970s, including periods of significant ship building for the two world wars, the Cold War and the expansion of global trade, asbestos was used in ship building, mostly for pipe insulation. During the installation process, asbestos particles were likely released into the air, where anyone could breathe them in, even those not directly working with the material.
Prior to the 1970s, all branches of the military used asbestos in ships, airplanes, tanks and barracks. So many veterans have been exposed to asbestos that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has created service-related compensation benefits for veterans who developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases while serving in the military.
Factories and Manufacturing
Depending on the products they were producing, factory workers were often exposed to asbestos in many ways. Many factories, like most older buildings, were built using asbestos as insulation for walls, pipes and furnaces. Additionally, it was often used in the products made in the factories. Textile workers were regularly exposed to the mineral while working directly with the material to make textiles and other products.
Those who worked directly with asbestos were not the only ones who could be exposed to the mineral and develop mesothelioma. The particles easily stick to clothing and other materials that workers carry home with them, potentially exposing loved ones and others to asbestos as well. If you believe that your mesothelioma diagnosis was a direct result of your work, you may have legal options and may be entitled to compensation. Contact our mesothelioma attorneys to learn more.