Work Related Asbestos Exposure
The vast majority of asbestos related illnesses, including many forms of cancer, were caused by work related exposure. Prior to legislation banning the use of asbestos in the workplace in 1989, certain people were subjected to severe exposure levels which varied according to the specific occupation. Most of these occupations involved a good amount of manual labor working with asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos is most deadly when it is tampered with and let out into the air. These manual labor occupations involved working and tampering with large amounts of asbestos while breathing heavily. While asbestos in the workplace is now outlawed, many of these workers are only now coming down with symptoms of cancer and other illnesses. This is due to the long latency period of asbestos-related disorders.
Occupations with the Most Asbestos Exposure
Although any occupation in which workers dealt with asbestos or worked in a building containing asbestos may result in the development of asbestos-related diseases, certain trades have a higher number of victims. These trades include:
- Insulators: insulation was one of the most commonly used asbestos containing products
- Ship builders: asbestos was used around boilers and steam pipes
- Power plant, refinery and industrial workers
- Mining: talc and vermiculite contain asbestos
- Textile industry
- Auto mechanics: asbestos was used in brake pads, shoes, clutch discs and linings
- Railroad workers
- Appliance shops
If you have any questions regarding work related asbestos exposure, fill out the asbestos/mesothelioma question form on the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Help Center web site.