Asbestos was used extensively during the late 1800s through the mid 1900s before it was linked to diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Its effectiveness as a fire retardant, insulation both for temperature and moisture, an ingredient in stucco, and myriad other uses, including an ingredient in crayons, made it ideal for use in just about every industry.
Less Severe, but Common Sites
The greatest exposure, and that most linked to the causes of mesothelioma are work-related environments and activities. This long list of asbestos exposure sites tends to affect men more than women, but there are a number of causes that affect women both directly and indirectly. Some less obvious uses for asbestos in the past have included:
- Talcum and baby powders
- Kitchen appliances
- Hair dryers
- Electric blankets
Sites that Exposed Nonworkers
Many older homes built before 1980 were constructed using asbestos extensively. In addition to the direct exposure that affected workers, their families and friends were exposed, second-handedly, to the particles that clung to their clothes, body and hair after they left work. Families who lived near power plants and other high-risk sites might also have been at risk for exposure. Children were exposed while attending schools that used asbestos in their construction.
Exposure in the Workplace
But, the risks to those who used these products, or lived in these environments is less well established than for those exposed in the workplace. The extensive lists of work sites and job types that exposed men to asbestos became the women's workplaces during World War II. The list of asbestos exposure sites seems to involve nearly every field of work imaginable from not-so obvious naval officers to more probable drywall installers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established regulations to ensure safety in the workplace where asbestos exposure existed. According to OSHA 1.3 million construction and industry workers are exposed to asbestos, with the largest percentage being those who renovate or demolish buildings. Other significant exposure sites include:
- Employees who repair automotive brakes and clutches
- People who manufacture asbestos products such as:
- friction products
- building materials
If you think that your exposure to asbestos may have compromised your health, please contact an experienced mesothelioma information lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. at the law office of Matthew E. Kiely, LLC for a free initial consultation.