There are different workers within many different kinds of trades that are at risk for asbestos exposure. Boilermakers are just one example of the workers at risk for exposure, which can lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis later in life.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, a mineral that is found naturally within our earth. After a worker is exposed to asbestos, it can take years or decades for the symptoms of mesothelioma to appear. Boilers are just one of the thousands of products that have exposed workers to asbestos, causing mesothelioma. Today, asbestos is no longer used in the manufacturing of new boilers, but boilermakers and boiler maintenance workers can be exposed to asbestos on any boiler that was built prior to 1990.
Asbestos was used for fire-retardant insulation, mortar, and gaskets in boilers. Pipes leading to and from boilers were often wrapped with asbestos insulation, and boiler walls were often covered with asbestos materials. In addition to boilermakers manufacturing boilers with these asbestos-containing materials, boiler repair and boiler maintenance workers are at risk for exposure since boiler rooms are often in confined spaces.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration aims to keep workers safe by limiting the amount of permissible asbestos fibers in the workplace. Although standards have been raised today, many employers fail to keep their workers safe on the job. It is also too late for many boilermakers to protect themselves from asbestos exposure at work. Insulators and pipefitters that installed the original asbestos-containing insulation before 1990 without respiratory protection are at high risk for developing a disease like mesothelioma.
Have you worked as a boilermaker or maintenance worker and are now experienced respiratory ailments? This might be a sign that you were exposed to asbestos and are beginning to develop symptoms of an asbestos-related illness. We urge you to contact your doctor so they can accurately monitor your health with your work history in mind.