The United States economy soared with the inception of the railroad. The railroad allowed manufacturers to deliver goods and allowed people to travel quickly across the nation. Since its inception, the railroad industry has also employed hundreds of thousands of railroad workers.

Over the years, railroad workers have helped modernize the railroad system by building and repairing trains and railroad tracks. Now, thousands of railroad workers are falling ill with serious and fatal diseases caused by asbestos exposure at work.

Asbestos Use in Railroads

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with long, thin, tiny fibers. Because asbestos fibers are strong, durable and non-combustible, asbestos was used in the railroad industry for many years. Up until the 1980s, asbestos was used in various railroad train parts, such as:

  • boxcars and cabooses
  • refrigeration units
  • pipes
  • steam lines
  • hot water lines
  • gaskets
  • brakes
  • clutches

Dangers of Railroad Industry Asbestos Exposure 

Asbestos is dangerous when its fibers are inhaled. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become lodged in the lungs and the body’s immune system cannot destroy them. As a result, the asbestos fibers remain in the body and can cause severe and fatal diseases, such as:

  • mesothelioma (a rare cancer affecting the lining that surrounds the lungs)
  • asbestosis (a respiratory disease caused by lung tissue scarring)
  • lung cancer
  • esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer

Railroad Workers at risk for Workplace Asbestos Exposure

Railroad workers face high workplace asbestos exposure levels because their jobs require the manipulation of asbestos containing materials. When asbestos containing materials are cut, broken, or damaged, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Jobs in the railroad industry that involve exposure to asbestos include:

  • Installing or Repairing Railroad Insulation: handling asbestos containing insulation materials releases toxic asbestos fibers into the air
  • Repairing Railroad Brake Shoes: asbestos containing brakes naturally wear down and release toxic asbestos dust into the air
  • Installing Railroad Gaskets: cutting and manipulating gaskets with asbestos containing materials to conform to the railroad train’s engine releases toxic asbestos fibers into the air 

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos while working in the railroad industry, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation.

Published November 17, 2011 by