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Industrial Plant Workers at Risk for Mesothelioma

Industrial Workers at Risk of Asbestos ExposureWorkers employed at industrial plants have traditionally been one of the largest “at risk” populations for developing mesothelioma.  That’s because before asbestos use became highly regulated by the Clean Air Act, products containing the deadly carcinogen were used liberally in manufacturing plants all over the United States.  Exposure to asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer with a very low survival time.

Asbestos was so prevalent in industrial environments because of its strength and insulating and fire resistant properties.  Additionally, asbestos was easily available and relatively cheap, meaning many companies which offered components to these industrial plants used asbestos even when safer alternatives were available.

Sadly, while the dangers of asbestos have been known since the early 1920s, products containing the known carcinogen were used almost without restriction until the mid-1970s.  Decades of industrial workers were exposed to unnecessarily high levels of asbestos during their workday simply because nobody informed them of the danger.  The companies who manufactured the asbestos containing goods often misrepresented their safety by either minimizing textual warnings on labels or omitting them altogether. 

And, because use of asbestos products was so widespread, they were found in many different types of industrial plants all over the country. Plants producing electroplated metal in Pittsburgh were just as likely to use the same type of asbestos insulation as facilities dedicated to stamping out automobile parts in Detroit.    

Heavy machinery for bending and shaping metals, high pressure/high temperature piping for liquids and gasses, furnaces for smelting, boilers for heating – all of these types of machines were either constructed with asbestos materials or used asbestos for various internal and external components.    

Because these asbestos products were in such hostile environments, they degraded much faster than they would have otherwise.  That meant the higher levels of these “friable” asbestos fibers were being released into the air on a daily basis.  These fibers are highly toxic and easily inhaled or ingested without the victim even knowing.

Poor ventilation and airflow within these closed environments compounded the danger of friable asbestos.  Fibers were released into the air but they had nowhere to go, making likelihood of inhalation much higher on a daily and on-going basis.

Industrial Occupations Most at Risk of Asbestos Exposure

 

Industrial, plant and factory workers often worked around machines or chemicals used for manufacturing that required the strength and heat resistance of asbestos products.  Working conditions often put workers at risk of asbestos exposure on a daily basis, heightening their chances of years later developing mesothelioma.  Occupations at risk include:

  • carpenters,
  • contract estimators,
  • factory workers,
  • drywall and insulation contractors,
  • heating and air-conditioning installers,
  • plumbers,
  • pipefitters,
  • ship builders,
  • shop superintendents,
  • shop mechanics,
  • supervisors,
  • welders & welder mates, etc. 

 

Worker’s Families at Risk as Well

In recent years there have been a great number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases.  These cases involve the family members of industrial plant workers who have developed mesothelioma after having been exposed to asbestos carried home on the clothing of plant workers.  These secondary exposure cases can be a bit more difficult to prove, however expereinced mesothelioma lawyers are experts at making the links back to places and causes of exposure.

For many industrial workers, asbestos fibers clung to clothing, hair, and other soft surfaces such as the interior of automobiles and household furniture.  That meant that they were often brining this carcinogen home to their wives and children without ever knowing it.

Once in the home, asbestos fibers became airborne through routine cleaning activities – dusting, doing laundry, vacuuming- putting members of the family of the plant worker at risk of inhaling toxic fibers as well. 

If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses and compensation for pain, suffering, and financial losses. 

Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason is a leading mesothelioma law firm in California, having represented clients from all over the United States.  CPSM fights for the rights of those injured by asbestos, pursuing financial penalties against the companies and manufacturers who are responsible for causing your illness.   Contact us today for a free case evaluation.