Insulator Mesothelioma & Asbestos Exposure Lawyers

Occupational Asbestos Exposure for Insulators

For most of the 20th century, nearly all insulation products contained asbestos due to its heat-resistant and fireproofing qualities. This put insulators at an especially high risk of exposure to asbestos and later developing asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma.

At SWMW Law, our award-winning trial team has fought on behalf of countless insulators diagnosed with life-altering illnesses resulting from asbestos exposure on the job. If you or a loved one worked as an insulator and was later diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we want to help. 

Our Case Results: Insulators

  • $7 million settlement: Union insulator, mesothelioma (MO, IL)
  • $1.2 million settlement: Union insulator, lung cancer (TX)
  • $750k settlement: Insulator and pipefitter, lung cancer (IL, TX)

SWMW Law proudly serves insulators across the country. Call (855) 744-1922 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

How Insulators Were Exposed to Asbestos

Insulators were tasked with measuring, cutting, installing, sealing, and replacing insulation across a vast range of industries and in many types of jobsites.  Just a few examples include industrial manufacturing facilities, steel mills, refineries, chemical plants, powerhouses, US Naval ships and maritime vessels, government and municipal buildings, construction and building sites, and even residential buildings.   

Until the 1970’s, nearly all insulation products contained asbestos because it was an effective way to provide heatproofing and fireproofing, but all the while putting countless insulators at risk of exposure. 

Any time asbestos insulation was manipulated or disturbed, it risked releasing millions of toxic asbestos fibers into the air. Cutting was especially disruptive to the material, and asbestos insulation usually needed to be cut to size to fit pipes, boilers, turbines, furnaces, pumps, or valves before being sealed with asbestos gaskets and packing.

Whether thermal pipe, block, cement, spray-on, loose-fill, foam, or millboard insulation, asbestos commonly appeared in insulation used in structures constructed in earlier decades. At one time, insulators were called “asbestos workers” because of how closely linked asbestos was to insulation materials. 

In addition to all these hazards, insulation was often installed in small, enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces like boiler rooms, below deck in naval ships, and even in confined residential spaces. Without proper ventilation or protective garments, insulators who worked in these tight spaces were at an even higher risk for inhaling higher quantities of asbestos.  

Tragically, most insulators were never made aware of the dangers of asbestos or the long-term health consequences of exposure. Many spent their entire careers performing work in, and around, buildings that put their health and livelihoods at risk. 

Sources of Asbestos Exposure for Insulators

Insulators faced risk of asbestos exposure through a variety of asbestos-containing products and materials. A partial list of asbestos-containing products reveals how widespread asbestos use and exposure has been for insulators.


  • Thermal Pipe
  • Thermal Block
  • Insulating and Refractory Cement 
  • Spray-on
  • Loose-fill
  • Foam
  • Millboard

Mechanical Products and Equipment

  • Boilers
  • Compressors
  • Furnaces
  • Tanks
  • Vessels
  • Turbines
  • Pumps
  • Valves
  • Gaskets
  • Packing
  • Firebrick
  • Steam Pipes
  • Chemical Pipes

At highest risk for first-hand asbestos exposure are those who worked directly with or alongside asbestos-containing materials; however, we know today that there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. Even the smallest amount of exposure increases the chances of developing asbestos-related diseases. 

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

Decades of research have confirmed the link between insulation work and the development of serious chronic health conditions such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Some examples include:

  • A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine that analyzed over 2,300 long-term North American insulators found asbestosis in 61% of workers and increased risks of lung cancer. The study’s finding of a 5.2% lung cancer mortality rate among insulators who never smoked was the largest number of lung cancer deaths among nonsmoking, asbestos-exposed workers ever reported. 
  • A 1988 study published in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine found that among several thousand asbestos insulation workers in the U.S. and Canada who died between 1967 and 1984, mesothelioma was the cause of death in nearly 10% of cases. In the general population, mesothelioma causes just 0.01%-0.07% of all deaths. 
  • A 1968 study which found a significant connection between occupational asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking among nearly 400 insulators in the New York City metro area. Researchers at the time estimated that insulators with a history of both smoking and asbestos exposure had a 90% increased risk of dying from lung cancer compared to individuals who never smoked and were never exposed to asbestos in the workplace. 
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How Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Mesothelioma in Insulators

Asbestos exposure is considered the primary cause of mesothelioma in insulators. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that affects the lining around the lungs, abdomen, or other parts of the body. Insulators are particularly at risk due to their working with asbestos-containing materials on a regular basis. 

Asbestos fibers become airborne when disturbed and can easily be inhaled into the body, leading to long-term health issues such as mesothelioma. When asbestos fibers are ingested, the particles become embedded in the linings of the lungs and other surrounding organs. Over time, these fibers can cause extensive scarring, inflammation, and tissue damage. 

Unfortunately, it can take multiple decades for symptoms of mesothelioma and other diseases linked to asbestos to present themselves after the initial exposure has occurred, making it difficult to detect and diagnose early. 

The prognosis for mesothelioma patients is generally poor. There is no cure, but surgery and other treatments can be used to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life, especially if it is caught at the earlier stages. Therefore, it is important for insulators who are aware of past exposure to get frequent medical screenings to check for signs of mesothelioma and other illnesses.  

Compensation and Justice for Insulators Exposed to Asbestos

Companies have known about the dangers and toxicity of asbestos since the 1930s, and yet they continued to manufacture and distribute hazardous asbestos-containing products, or they failed to appropriately notify people of the risks. 

Holding asbestos companies and their insurers responsible for their negligence and harm can be accomplished with the advocacy of responsible, experienced, and dedicated asbestos lawyers like those with SWMW Law.

If you or a loved one worked as an insulator and were diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease, you may have grounds to pursue compensation for your losses.

Recoverable damages in mesothelioma claims include:

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

At SWMW Law, our legal team has extensive experience representing insulators in legal actions that seek compensation for occupational asbestos exposure. This includes claims seeking compensation from asbestos bankruptcy trusts established by companies that reorganized or went out of business, as well as civil lawsuits against solvent companies that used asbestos and negligently endangered workers.

Because every case is different, the best way to evaluate your available options and the potential value of your case is to have it reviewed personally by an attorney from our firm.

Learn more about your rights and legal options.

Call For a FREE Consultation

SWMW Law is an award-winning plaintiffs firm known for litigating mesothelioma and asbestos exposure cases on behalf of victims nationwide. Backed by over a century of experience, we've fought for insulators and other workers who were diagnosed with devastating health conditions after working in at-risk occupations 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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