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Professions at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure can be deadly. The tiny, long fibers that make up asbestos can stay in the lungs for years after being inhaled. These fibers are the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer, and they can cause other serious illnesses as well.

Unfortunately, members of certain professions are at a high risk for asbestos exposure. Because of this, members of these professions are more likely to suffer from health issues caused by exposure to asbestos. Here are a few common professions that are at a high risk for asbestos exposure.


Firefighters have a much higher than average chance of being exposed to asbestos. This is because most buildings constructed before the 1980s contain building materials that have asbestos. When one of these buildings catches on fire, the items that contain asbestos are destroyed, and the fibers become airborne. Older firefighters may also have been exposed to asbestos when it was still used in making fire uniforms, hoses, trucks, etc.

Construction Workers

Construction workers are another group at a higher than average risk for asbestos exposure. Prior to the 1980s, a large percentage of construction materials contained asbestos. Those who worked in construction prior to the 1980s could have asbestos fibers in their lungs and could develop mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other illnesses later in life. Construction workers who began working after 1980 still face risks as well. Home renovation and demolition projects can disturb old asbestos-containing materials, exposing the workers to the deadly fibers. In addition, some flooring and roofing materials still contain asbestos.

Industrial Workers

Industrial workers, such as mechanics, machinery operators, foremen, chemical workers, paper mill workers, plumbers and various other trade laborers are another group at a high risk of asbestos exposure. Paper, insulation, fireproofing gaskets, textiles, industrial insulators, and many other industrial materials can contain asbestos. Workers who deal with these materials each day can end up inhaling asbestos particles. These particles can cause serious health issues, even after many years without symptoms. Members of industrial professions should take safety measures when dealing with materials that contain asbestos.

Shipyard Workers

While shipyard workers could be grouped with industrial workers, this group is important, because about three out of ten asbestos exposure legal claims are filed by shipyard workers. This group tends to have a high risk of asbestos exposure and a high risk of developing deadly illnesses like mesothelioma later in life. Shipyard workers who helped with construction, demolition, and repair projects experience the most exposure. Boiler workers are also at a very high risk.

If you are a member of one of these professions, you should make sure you are not putting yourself at undue risk for asbestos exposure. If you have worked in one of these professions and then developed medical issues as a result of asbestos exposure, then you should seek the help of an experienced attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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