Asbestos can seem like a problem of the past. Unfortunately, asbestos remains a danger for many workers. The U.S. remains a large importer of raw asbestos. It is still used in industrial manufacturing processes. Tons of asbestos lies dormant in throughout homes, industrial and commercial buildings.
Workers in a variety of industries continue to be exposed. Many of these workers are unaware of the danger.
Construction workers are particularly at risk
Asbestos remains an underappreciated risk in construction. According to a recent survey conducted by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, for example, one in four construction workers were unaware that asbestos causes cancer. A similar number were unaware of what precautions to take if a property did test positive for asbestos.
It is an alarming response, as millions of homes in the U.S. still have asbestos. While it is not a danger if left undisturbed, anyone who regularly works with plumbing, HVAC, drywall, roofing and many other building materials in residential and commercial homes is in danger of inhaling asbestos dust.
Some occupations at risk for asbestos exposure are surprising
Building owners and contractors who are aware of asbestos must follow the law regarding proper asbestos abatement procedures. But it is not just construction workers who are at risk. For example, asbestos is found throughout schools. Custodial staff may unknowingly expose themselves or others to asbestos without proper training.
Last year, a study published in the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health revealed that many upholsterers may have been exposed to asbestos. Its authors concluded that upholstering should be considered a high-risk occupation for mesothelioma. Furniture and other textiles manufactured in the 20th century contained asbestos.
These are just a few examples. Asbestos was used in a variety of products spanning many industries and decades.
Not a problem that is going away
Because there is a long latency period between asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma or lung cancer, it can be difficult for some people to know where, when and how they were exposed to asbestos dust. If you or a loved one are now suffering from mesothelioma, an experienced mesothelioma litigation law firm can help you understand where you might have been exposed, and the businesses and manufacturers responsible.