Asbestos has been linked to deadly forms of cancer for decades – this isn’t news. Here’s what’s shocking – about 1.3 million Americans are still working in an environment with significant asbestos exposure every day. It’s happening here in Massachusetts and all over the country. What is going on? Why are so many workers still involuntarily exposed to such a deadly substance? Asbestos has been used in building for decades, due to its durability and flame-resistant properties. As a naturally-occurring material, asbestos particles are inhaled in trace quantities by all of us, every day. It’s when we breathe in significant levels of this harmful substance that serious health conditions can develop. Short-term problems include coughing and shortness of breath. However, long-term exposure can lead to more serious complications, including a highly-deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. Classified as a carcinogen, asbestos has been linked to everything from colorectal cancer to lung cancer.
1.3 Million U.S. Workers Exposed to Asbestos Daily
In addition to the 1.3 million who are currently exposed to significant levels of asbestos every day, there are millions of older people who spent decades working with and around asbestos before we fully understood the associated dangers. Because conditions such as mesothelioma can take up to 30 years to become apparent, workers are being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases and conditions today that they first acquired decades ago. This is of special concern for older workers. Who do they sue for damages if the employer responsible for their asbestos exposure has been out of business for decades? Fortunately, there is some good news – asbestos trusts exist to compensate these victims.
Occupations with Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Despite the known dangers, asbestos exposure is still quite common in many occupations. Which occupations pose the greatest risk? Although many companies take proper safety measures to mitigate the risk of asbestos exposure, the occupations below traditionally have the highest risk of exposure, even today.
- Paper mills
- HVAC jobs
- Auto repair
- Manufacturing of products that contain asbestos
- Janitorial jobs
If you are concerned about asbestos exposure at your job, share your concerns with your employer. If your mind isn’t eased after this conversation, contact a Boston work injury lawyer. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with monitoring and regulating workplace asbestos exposure, including setting limits of exposure. Therefore, if your job involves asbestos, your employer is required, by law, to protect all workers from any asbestos-related health risks. Your employer may be legally required to provide:
- Proper training for employees who work around asbestos
- Proper ventilation
- Posted warning signs in areas where asbestos is present
- Protective clothing and equipment, such as face shields and respirators
- Post-exposure precautions, including showers
- Medical exams for workers who have been, or may have been, exposed to high levels of asbestos
Altman & Altman, LLP – Asbestos Injury Lawyers Serving All of MA
If you have developed health problems after short-term or long-term exposure to asbestos, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have extensive experience with asbestos cases, including clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma decades after the initial exposure. We can help you determine the best strategy for moving forward. If you are suffering from any type of work-related injury, we can help. Don’t go through this alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.