As late as the 1980s, asbestos was used in building materials including plaster, drywall materials, floor tiles, roofing products, wall and ceiling insulation, and electric wiring insulation. Also, asbestos blankets, gloves and aluminized asbestos suits used to be standard equipment for many firefighters. So, in addition to the daily danger of fighting fires, firefighters are at additional risk of developing an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of organs such as the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) and the abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma).
During a fire, firefighters can be exposed to a variety of chemicals from construction materials, and in older buildings, especially those built before the 1980s, many of these materials contain asbestos. The hot air current at a fire can carry asbestos fibers that are released when cold water hits hot asbestos or when structural failure causes asbestos-containing components to break. Also, fire may cause non-friable asbestos materials (materials in which the asbestos fibers are not easily broken apart) to become friable (able to be reduced to smaller pieces).
If you are a firefighter or were a firefighter in the Baltimore, Maryland area, and have developed mesothelioma, please contact the mesothelioma attorneys at Brown | Kiely, LLP today to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation.