Between the 1930s and 1970s, asbestos insulation was regularly used in American buildings and homes. During this time, an estimated 1.2 billion square feet of asbestos insulation was used in about 190,000 buildings in the United States.
Why Asbestos was used as Insulation
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was thought to be ideal for insulation because it is:
- Durable: asbestos is very strong and resilient allowing insulation to remain intact for long time periods
- Flexible: asbestos fibers are stringy so they compactly wrap themselves around the insulated component
- Fire Resistant: asbestos can withstand temperatures as high as 1200 degrees Fahrenheit allowing it to insulate and protect hot pipes and boilers
Insulation Workers & Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos insulation is dangerous because it can release asbestos fibers into the air where they can be inhaled. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, the fibers remain lodged in the lungs and can cause severe and fatal diseases including:
- mesothelioma (a rare cancer that affects the lining surrounding the lungs)
- asbestosis (a respiratory disorder caused by lung tissue scarring)
- lung cancer
- esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer
For many years, insulation workers were constantly exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers. To begin with, insulation workers were exposed to asbestos when they cut asbestos containing insulation to fit over pipes and boilers. Insulation workers were also exposed to asbestos when they removed damaged asbestos containing insulation from buildings and homes. Until the 1980s, most insulation workers wore no protective clothing or gear while working around asbestos insulation. Consequently, many insulation workers inhaled toxic asbestos fibers and eventually became ill with asbestos-related diseases.
If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos exposure that occurred while working in the insulation industry and diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, please contact us today to learn more about your legal options.