Occupational asbestos exposure—or asbestos exposure that occurs in the workplace or while on the job—is the leading cause of asbestos-related health conditions, such as asbestos and mesothelioma. Exposure to asbestos while on the job can occur in a variety of ways, including inhalation or ingestion of airborne fibers, direct contact with contaminated surfaces, or through contact with clothing or other items that have come in contact with asbestos-containing materials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 27 million U.S. workers were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1979. Because of the extended latency period of asbestos-related health conditions, including mesothelioma, workers who were exposed to asbestos in the past are now experiencing greater instances of such illnesses.
Which Occupations Have the Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure?
Those most at risk of on-the-job asbestos exposure tend to be workers involved in occupations such as construction, manufacturing, shipbuilding and repair, demolition and abatement, insulation installation and removal, longshore work, and auto mechanics.
At SWMW Law, we represent all types of workers who have suffered occupational asbestos exposure, including but not limited to:
Are Workers Still Exposed to Asbestos Today?
Despite its many known dangers, asbestos is not entirely banned in the United States. As a result, people may still face occupational asbestos exposure, though the risk is much lower today than it was several decades ago.
Many products are still manufactured with asbestos, including roofing materials, automobile brakes, and gaskets. However, today, most occupational asbestos exposure comes from working with old materials and products that contain asbestos, including old insulation, fireproofing, concrete, cement, bricks, drywall, roofing, flooring, paints, pipes, sealants, electrical appliances, rubber, and plastics.
As such, most occupational asbestos exposure today affects workers engaged in the following occupations:
- Home and building renovations
- Structure demolitions
- Product/material repairs and removal
- General industry
No amount of asbestos exposure is safe. Those who work with or come into contact with asbestos on the job are at risk of developing cancer and other asbestos-related illnesses.
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Occupational asbestos exposure is a serious risk that should not be taken lightly. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can become embedded in the lining surrounding the lungs, abdomen, and other areas of the body. Over time, this can result in mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. It can also cause other serious illnesses, such as asbestos and pulmonary fibrosis.
The risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related health conditions increases with prolonged exposure to asbestos particles, so it is important for those working in high-risk occupations to take necessary safety measures. This includes wearing protective gear and limiting the amount of time spent exposed to asbestos-containing dust or material.
If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos at work, it is important to take the necessary steps to minimize your risk of developing mesothelioma and other adverse health conditions associated with asbestos exposure:
- First, you should discuss the issue with your employer and make sure that any areas in which asbestos may be present are properly identified and labeled. Additionally, you should always wear protective equipment when working with asbestos-containing materials or in areas where there may be airborne fibers.
- You should also keep a record of any exposure that may have occurred while on the job so that it can be properly documented in case further medical evaluation or treatment is needed. Detailed records of suspected asbestos exposure can also prove invaluable should you choose to pursue occupational asbestos exposure litigation.
- It is also recommended that you receive regular medical screenings in order to detect signs of mesothelioma early, as this can lead to a better prognosis for those affected by the disease. In many cases, early detection and treatment can lead to significantly longer expected lifespans for those diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer.
- Lastly, if you believe you may have been exposed to asbestos while on the job, or if you worked in a high-risk occupation, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney at our firm. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your asbestos-related injuries and damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
At SWMW Law, we are committed to standing up for the rights of hardworking people who suffered devastating injuries, illnesses, and losses due to the negligence of asbestos manufacturers and other companies that used asbestos. To date, we have recovered more than $750 million in compensation for our clients; learn how our team can assist you with your occupational asbestos exposure case.
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