Several occupations at high risk for asbestos exposure

18 Oct 2018 by under News

640px shipyard 100x100 Several occupations at high risk for asbestos exposureExposure to asbestos can cause serious illnesses including the incurable lung disease asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or chest. These diseases can take 10 to 50 years to develop. Once diagnosed, the prognosis is generally grim with many dying within 18 months.

The people at greatest risk of developing an asbestos-related disease are those who are repeatedly exposed to the carcinogen, most often “from a job where staff work directly with the mineral or through substantial environmental contact,” according to the National Cancer Institute.

Asbestos is a mineral that was used in a variety of construction materials and vehicle products because it was durable and resistant to heat and corrosion before its use as restricted in the 1980s due to the serious health risks asbestos exposure poses. But some occupations still have a high risk for asbestos exposure, including

  • Workers who manufacture products that contain asbestos;
  • Asbestos mining and milling;
  • Construction trades (insulators, sheet metal workers, electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, carpenters);
  • Power plant workers;
  • Boilermakers;
  • Shipyard workers;
  • Firefighters;
  • Teachers;
  • Veterans.

Because asbestos exposure is so dangerous, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations to protect workers from the hazards of asbestos. For complete information about the requirements, including workers’ rights, refer to the OSHA Fact Sheet on asbestos.

OSHA Fact Sheet

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