Workers At Risk: Jobs & Industries Linked To Asbestos Exposure

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Jobs & Industries Linked To Asbestos Exposure

In our 50+ years of representing clients with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, Serling & Abramson, P.C. has identified numerous industries linked to asbestos exposure — including many right here in Michigan.

This human carcinogen has been used in thousands of different products, especially insulation and other products designed to offer resistance to extreme temperatures. Medical experts have agreed there is no safe level of exposure — meaning a wide range of people, from workers to family members who come into contact with them, can be in danger.

Dangerous, Even Deadly. And Used Virtually Everywhere

The list of industries linked to asbestos is long and includes some of the most well-known “blue collar” trades, including:

  • Foundries. The thermal insulating properties of asbestos contributed to its use in equipment used in melting ore, such as boilers, furnaces, tanks, pumps, valves, ovens, and especially personal protection equipment such as aprons and gloves.
  • Plastics. Molders creating certain types of plastic products are exposed to asbestos dust through plastic molding compounds and the molding process itself.
  • Utilities. Utility workers such as electricians and maintenance personnel can be exposed to asbestos through their work with electrical systems. Powerhouses use boilers and turbines to generate electricity. This equipment and its related piping systems are filled with asbestos-containing products.
  • Refineries. Vessels containing caustics and highly flammable materials were often insulated with asbestos, which was also used in protective clothing and safety gear to protect workers from heat and fire.
  • Construction. Asbestos was often used in cement, roofing, plaster, joint compound, floor and ceiling tiles, caulk, paint, and other construction-related products.
  • Steel mills. Steelworkers can be exposed while operating coke ovens, furnaces, ladles, and cranes within steel manufacturing facilities.
  • Automotive. Asbestos was routinely used in automotive parts such as brakes, clutches, and gaskets.
  • Chemical. Asbestos was used in chemical plants as insulation for boilers, furnaces, extruders, pipes, ovens, driers, pumps, and tanks. Personal protective equipment worn by workers, such as gloves, bibs, and aprons, also contained asbestos fibers to protect them from high temperatures.
  • Maritime/Shipyards. Ships and shipyards often contained a long list of asbestos-based products including pumps, evaporators, condensers, turbines, boilers, incinerators, hot water pipes, and steam pipes.
  • Railroads. Asbestos was regularly used to insulate locomotive engines and in brake and clutch linings. Asbestos-cement rail ties were also used to secure rails.

Surprising Places Where Asbestos Can Be Present

Unfortunately, asbestos use hasn’t just been limited to industrial workplaces. Many people have been exposed to asbestos in homes and schools built before 1980. Even doing home improvements with joint compound or vinyl asbestos floor tile — or doing the laundry of a family member who worked around asbestos — means you could have been exposed.

What Health Risks Are Caused By Asbestos?

While asbestos has been linked to other forms of cancer, the 3 most prominent illnesses caused by asbestos exposure are:

  • Mesothelioma. Scientists agree that virtually all cases of mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos. While this aggressive form of cancer is relatively rare, heavily industrialized states like Michigan have a disproportionately high share of cases.
  • Lung cancer. Inhalation of asbestos fibers has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in many medical studies. The size of the dose, the duration of exposure, and the chemical makeup of the asbestos fibers are all factors that can affect your risk level.
  • Asbestosis. This lesser-known respiratory disease is caused when the inhalation of asbestos fibers causes scarring of the lung tissue, resulting in shortness of breath and pain. Asbestosis can also lead to the development of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Where To Turn For Justice And Compensation

Serling & Abramson, P.C. is a Michigan-based law firm that knows state law inside and out — specifically, the historical facts about asbestos use in Michigan. Our founder, Michael Serling, filed the first successful mesothelioma case in Michigan in 1981. Since then, we have represented thousands of workers and their family members who became ill or died as a result of their asbestos exposure.

Don’t Let The Clock Run Out

There is a limited amount of time for people who develop an asbestos-related diagnosis to pursue damages. Don’t let the clock run out — contact us for a review of your case free of charge. We can help you get financial restitution for your losses and suffering, including money for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering