Because it is durable, flexible, and virtually indestructible, asbestos was widely used in building materials and consumer products until the 1980s. Unfortunately, we now know that asbestos exposure is linked to severe and fatal diseases such as:
- mesothelioma (a cancer that affects the lining surrounding the lungs)
- asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
- lung cancer
- esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer
Asbestos is dangerous when its fibers are inhaled. Asbestos fibers are released in the air where they can be inhaled when asbestos containing materials are disturbed or manipulated in any manner. The risk of developing disease from asbestos is greatest for individuals who are constantly exposed to asbestos fibers. Individuals facing the highest risk for prolonged asbestos exposure include:
- workers’ families
- people who use products containing asbestos
Asbestos Risk for Workers
People who have worked in the following locations are at a high risk for asbestos exposure:
- construction sites
- asbestos product manufacturing sites
- oil refineries
- power plants
- automotive repair and manufacturing facilities
- insulation industries
- steel mills
- demolition sites
Workers in the above environments continuously handle asbestos containing materials. When handled, asbestos containing materials release toxic asbestos fibers into the air, thereby exposing workers to the risk of developing diseases. In addition, the above workplaces are poorly ventilated and workers typically wore no protective clothing or respiratory equipment. As a result, workers easily inhaled toxic asbestos fibers, putting them at risk for serious illnesses.
Asbestos Risk for Workers’ Families
Families of workers who were exposed to asbestos are also at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Because asbestos fibers can cling to shoes, clothing, skin, and hair, workers may have unintentionally brought asbestos fibers home, placing family members at risk.
Asbestos Risk for Product Users
People who use asbestos containing products are at risk for asbestos exposure. Over 3,000 products were manufactured using asbestos. Asbestos products release hazardous asbestos fibers when used or damaged, placing product users at risk for developing severe illnesses.
Information on Asbestos Risks
If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos, or if you would like more information about asbestos risks, please contact our asbestos attorneys today.