Bricklayers and Mesothelioma

Occupational Asbestos Exposure for Bricklayers & Stonemasons

If you or someone you love developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related health condition after working as a bricklayer or stonemason, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was used widely across many industries and in a variety of applications, including industrial, commercial, and residential building and construction, as well as industrial manufacturing. As a result, bricklayers who built, constructed, and repaired brick structures were routinely exposed to asbestos while performing their trade, including from the building materials with which they directly handled and from working around skilled workers throughout these jobsites.  This exposure greatly increased their risk of developing devastating diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. 

SWMW Law is a nationally recognized trial practice with a legacy of litigating asbestos exposure cases for bricklayers and workers in high-risk occupations. If you have questions about pursuing compensation after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we want to help.

SWMW Law proudly serves bricklayers, stonemasons, and families across the country. Call (855) 744-1922 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

How Bricklayers Were Exposed to Asbestos

Asbestos was used abundantly in buildings and jobsites where bricklayers worked, in various materials and equipment used by bricklayers, and in the refractory cement, mortar, and bricks essential to their jobs.

For many bricklayers and stonemasons, a significant source of asbestos exposure stemmed from the buildings and facilities in which they worked. Bricklayers routinely built, repaired, and replaced structures such as walls, chimney stacks, and the linings of ovens, furnaces, and boilers in steel mills, chemical plants, and other industrial facilities filled with asbestos. This meant they encountered a variety of asbestos-containing materials working in industrial and commercial buildings constructed before the 1980s. Even residential bricklayers were exposed to asbestos. Health risks were even more elevated for bricklayers who demolished, cut, sawed, or otherwise disturbed asbestos-containing materials, as doing so would release large quantities of asbestos dust that could then be inhaled or ingested.

Another source of asbestos exposure for bricklayers came directly from the materials they used to perform their jobs. For example, asbestos, which is known for its heat-resistant properties, was a common additive in fire bricks, refractory cement, brick mortar, structural tiles, and adhesives produced between 1920 and 1980. These materials posed major health risks for tradesmen who worked directly with them and repaired high-heat machinery and equipment such as fireplaces, ovens, open-heath furnaces, heat-treating equipment, kilns, and other similar equipment. Bricklayers often performed maintenance work without respirators or wet saws, which exposed them to higher concentrations of asbestos fibers.

Today, asbestos is strictly regulated and has been banned in many applications since the 1980s. But even so, bricklayers who worked after this time would still risk exposure to asbestos when performing repairs, remodels, and demolitions on older homes and in industrial and commercial buildings. 

Unfortunately, bricklayers who worked years ago were never made aware of the dangers of asbestos or the long-term health risks of their exposure, even though companies which produced asbestos and asbestos-containing products were aware of the dangers. As a result, many bricklayers, refractory workers, and masons developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other devastating diseases due to their work. 

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Sources of Asbestos Exposure for Bricklayers

Bricklayers faced considerable health risks from their exposure to a variety of asbestos-containing products and building materials. Some examples of these asbestos-containing products and equipment include:

  • Fire bricks
  • Refractory materials, including linings for furnaces, ovens, and other piping systems and vessels
  • Brick mortar and bonding cement
  • Fireproofing sprays and sealants
  • Cements and glues 
  • Insulation
  • Boilers 
  • Furnaces
  • Ovens
  • Kilns 
  • Drywall, plaster, and sheetrock
  • Ceiling and floor tiles

Bricklayers who worked directly with, or near, these and other asbestos-containing materials faced the highest risk of first-hand asbestos exposure. However, because there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure, others who were exposed to asbestos materials used by bricklayers, including construction workers on worksites and even bricklayers’ families, would have increased their risks of developing asbestos-related diseases. 

Studies Show Increased Risks of Mesothelioma, Asbestos-Related Disease Among Bricklayers

Given the many potential sources of asbestos exposure in chemical plants, studies throughout the years have confirmed that bricklayers have a higher incidence rate of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related health conditions than the general population. For example:

  • A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that bricklayers, stonemasons, and tile setters had an elevated risk of cancer due to their exposure to carcinogenic agents such as asbestos. The study also found a correlation between lung cancer and the length of time a person worked as a bricklayer. 
  • A 1995 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found elevated risks of cancer among U.S. construction workers who died in the mid-1980s, including elevated risks of stomach cancer, bone cancer, and asbestos-related diseases among brick masons. 
  • A 2015 Polish study found clear correlations between asbestos-related cancer and jobs that required workers to handle cement, including brick and cement masons, in the 1940s through the 1990s. The highest rates of mesothelioma were among people who worked as masons and in cement factories, with 6.55 cases per 1,000 workers. 
  • American Association for Justice
  • MATA
  • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

Compensation for Bricklayers Exposed to Asbestos

Companies responsible for using asbestos in bricks, mortar, and other materials used by bricklayers knew about the health risks posed by asbestos as early as the 1930s but chose to continue making these products without warning workers and consumers. 

When these companies were held accountable and facing liability for endangering workers and their families, many of these companies were forced to file for bankruptcy and establish trust funds to compensate workers and victims who developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. These funds are intended to provide victims and families with compensation for damages such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost income and future earnings
  • Emotional injuries suffered by loved ones
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

At SWMW Law, our legal team has extensive experience representing bricklayers, masons, and other workers in legal actions that seek compensation for occupational asbestos exposure. This includes claims filed with asbestos bankruptcy trusts and, in cases where companies that used asbestos and negligently endangered workers are still solvent, civil lawsuits.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease after working as a steelworker, our team can help explore your options during a personalized case review.

Learn more about your rights and legal options.

Call For a FREE Consultation: (855) 744-1922

SWMW Law is a nationally recognized plaintiffs firm known for litigating mesothelioma and asbestos exposure cases on behalf of victims nationwide. Comprised of award-winning attorneys, we have extensive experience representing victims who were diagnosed with devastating health conditions after working in at-risk occupations, like steelworkers, and have recovered over $750 million in compensation for our clients.

If you have questions about your legal options and how we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation, call (855) 744-1922 or contact us online.

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