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Which workers are at a higher risk of asbestos illnesses?

by | Jan 18, 2017 | Workplace Illnesses

For many years, asbestos was used in everything from trains and car brakes to home insulation and textiles. The fiber was inexpensive and has fireproofing qualities that made it an ideal component of many products. However, for decades now, we have known that asbestos is not ideal. In fact, exposure to it can be deadly.

Unfortunately, many people continued to work with asbestos long after the dangers were known, and workers in New York are still at risk of exposure today. Because of the materials that were often made with asbestos and the fact that it continues to be used in the U.S., there are people who work or have worked in certain industries who are at a higher risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses.

Because asbestos was often used in building materials, a higher threat exists for:

  • Plumbers
  • HVAC workers
  • Construction and demolition workers
  • Firefighters
  • Drywall removers

Because asbestos was often used in transportation materials, a higher threat exists for:

  • Automotive repair workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Railroad workers

There is also risk of second-hand exposure for the families of these workers. People living around asbestos mines are also at disproportionately high risk of getting sick.

Asbestos is most dangerous when it is disturbed and released into the air, and because of the environment in which they work, people in the above-mentioned jobs are at a troubling risk for breathing in the airborne fibers. When this happens, asbestos can cause devastating damage to a person’s lungs and other vital organs.

Sadly, it can take decades for symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma, to start showing up. By the time workers are diagnosed, they may only have weeks or months to live. Because of this, it is critical that any worker exposed to asbestos on the job consults an attorney sooner, rather than later. Acting fast can help victims and their families pursue and secure the compensation they need and deserve.