Asbestos is a natural occurring fibrous mineral useful for its durable, flexible, fire resistant, and virtually indestructible qualities. Until the 1908s, asbestos was widely used in building materials and insulation Asbestos was also extensively used in consumer products and clothing. In the 1970s, asbestos use peaked, but usage significantly dropped after scientists discovered that asbestos dust can cause serious health problems when inhaled.
Asbestos Dust Dangers
Asbestos dust is created when asbestos containing materials are frayed or damaged. If inhaled, asbestos dust lodges in the lungs where the body’s immune system cannot destroy it. As a result, the following severe and fatal diseases may develop:
- mesothelioma (a cancer that affects the lining surrounding lungs)
- asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
- lung cancer
- esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer
Occupations with Asbestos Dust
Several job functions regularly required workers to come into contact with toxic asbestos dust, including:
- insulation installation and removal
- brake repair
Insulation Installation: Up until the 1980s, asbestos was widely used to fireproof building insulation. When the insulation was installed or removed, asbestos dust was released into the air. Consequently, workers who installed or removed the asbestos containing insulation were exposed to high levels of asbestos dust and many developed severe illnesses.
Brake Repair: For many years, automobile brakes were lined with heat resistant asbestos. Because automobile brakes continuously shred, brakes lined with asbestos release asbestos dust into the brake housing. When workers repair these brakes, the accumulated asbestos dust is released and inhaled.
Maintenance: Asbestos dust accumulates near damaged and deteriorated asbestos containing materials. As a result, many maintenance workers innocently sweep the toxic asbestos dust. The sweeping stirs the asbestos dust, causing it to linger in the air where it can be inhaled.
Removing Asbestos Dust
The 1994 Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) asbestos regulations advised that dust found near damaged asbestos containing materials should not be dry swept or vacuumed. OSHA suggests using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to remove the dust.
Injured by Asbestos Dust
If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos dust, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation. If you would like more information about asbestos dust or its dangers, please contact one of our asbestos attorneys for a free case evaluation.