While the danger of asbestos exposure in the workplace has decreased as its health risks have become public knowledge, many workers were exposed to the dangerous substance before safety regulations were established. As it can take decades for asbestos exposure to result in an asbestos-related disease, it is critical for people to be aware of places in which they might have been exposed to the toxin.
Typically, asbestos-related illnesses are seen in workers who spent significant amounts of time exposed to the substance. Some trades that saw frequent exposure to asbestos include:
• Textile manufacturing, as some textiles contained asbestos
• Construction work, particularly involving insulation
• Brake repair
• Demolition work
• Drywall removal
Individuals employed in those professions, particularly those who spent years or decades involved in those types of jobs, may have been exposed to asbestos fibers on a daily basis. Such consistent exposure can lead to various asbestos-related illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Firefighters are another category of workers that continue to have a high risk of asbestos exposure. The buildings that firefighters must enter in the course of their duties often contain products made with asbestos. While these products may not be dangerous when the building is in good repair, a fire can release the asbestos fibers previously sealed in the products, causing a risk for those inhaling the air in the building.
In addition, as we have previously noted, family members of individuals who work with asbestos can be affected by their relatives' exposure to the toxin. These days, workers who are faced with asbestos exposure are required to take a shower and change their clothes before returning home for the day.
Source: FindLaw, "Who Is at Risk for Asbestos-Related Illnesses?"