Asbestos lung cancer, like mesothelioma, is something you don’t expect when you are hired for a job. And why would you? This is the 21st century, not the old days when workers in occupations like mining regularly got “black lung” disease and no one thought it was unusual or even wrong.
Today we take for granted that there are laws that protect us. We go to work in good faith that we will be protected from being exposed on the job to safety hazards that cause us injury, illness or even death. And this is correct. There are laws to protect you on the job.
But asbestos lung cancer is sneaky. The seeds of this lethal disease may be planted in your system without you even being aware of it. Microscopic asbestos dust fibers may have been released into the air where you worked. You could not see them, smell them or taste them. But without realizing it, you may have inhaled these asbestos particles into your lungs where they began to cause serious damage.
You may have no symptoms for several decades. Then when asbestos cancer like mesothelioma emerges, the employers and manufacturers who knowingly exposed you to asbestos decades earlier may be counting on you not realizing they are to blame. This is not only morally wrong; it is also illegal.
Malignant mesothelioma, the medical name for the most serious asbestos cancer, is closely linked with certain types of jobs and products.
Jobs and Industries Most Likely to Cause Asbestos Lung Cancer
Asbestos cancer can be caused by any amount of exposure to asbestos dust. There is no safe level of exposure according to the EPA. Most asbestos exposure occurs while people are at their jobs. This is called occupational exposure. Without realizing it, they may bring asbestos particles home on their work clothes, their hair or their car. This causes a risk to family members called paraoccupational exposure. Approximately 70% to 80% of asbestos cancer cases are believed to be the direct result of easily identified occupational or paraoccupational exposure to asbestos fibers and almost all the rest can be traced back to asbestos exposure by skilled investigators (like those at Kazan Law).
Asbestos Lung Cancer and Industries
Asbestos lung cancer remains a serious risk highly associated with certain industries. Asbestos was frequently used in many industries – especially construction, energy, manufacturing and transportation – for its insulating properties.
You and your family may be at risk if you ever worked in the following industries:
- Asbestos product manufacturing (insulation, roofing, building, materials)
- Automotive repair (brakes and clutches)
- Construction and/or contractor work
- Oil refineries
- Power plants
- Shipyards / ships
- Steel mills
Jobs with the Highest Asbestos Lung Cancer Risk
Many asbestos-containing materials that can cause asbestos lung cancer are still around many jobsites. Asbestos can still be found in buildings, ships and shipyards, industrial facilities, automotive plants, oil refineries and other environments where asbestos dust may be released and become airborne. Jobs in these environments pose serious human health hazards from inhaling asbestos.
For example, about 1.3 million construction workers are currently being exposed to asbestos, according to the American Lung Association.
You and your family may face a higher risk of asbestos cancer if you worked in any of these jobs:
- Automotive mechanic
- Boiler maker
- Building Inspector
- Iron worker
- Maintenance worker
- Merchant marine
- Sheet metal worker
- Steam fitter
- Tile setter
- U.S. Navy ship and/or shipyard worker
Asbestos Lung Cancer Linked to Many Industrial Products
Asbestos lung cancer is not something most workers worry about. That’s because they, like many Americans, believe that the use of asbestos in products was outlawed years ago. But the reality is that asbestos-containing products continue to be imported and sold in this country. That means asbestos cancer continues to be a risk for people who may come in contact with these products. Most of these products are imported from Canada and Mexico, two countries where asbestos is still a legal product component. To make matters worse, not all imported products are clearly labeled with complete content information.
Most of these products are designated for industrial use. That doesn’t make their use okay. Workers in all industries are also human beings who are vulnerable to asbestos cancer. Asbestos may be spread through numerous products distributed throughout many industries. What many asbestos products have in common is that their function is to protect other materials from high temperatures. Asbestos was prized for its thermal insulating properties.
It would be impossible to list all of the products that now or at one time contained asbestos. But here is a list of the most common ones to be aware of.
Common asbestos products:
- Insulating cement
- Insulating block
- Asbestos cloth
- Packing materials
- Thermal seals
- Refractory and boiler insulation materials
- Transite board
- Asbestos cement pipe
- Fireproofing spray
- Joint compound for drywall finishing
- Vinyl floor tile
- Ceiling tile
- Acoustical textures
- Duct insulation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
- Roofing products
- Insulated electrical wire and panels
- Brake and clutch assemblies
6 States with the Highest Asbestos Cancer Rates
Mesothelioma causes 2,500 deaths every year in the U.S. from 2001 to 2010, the most recent decade with collected data. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks and analyzes these statistics.
According to the CDC, the states with the highest number of deaths from mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer which remained constant over the decade even with some fluctuations from year to year – are:
- New York
- New Jersey
Screening for Asbestos Lung Cancer
Asbestos lung cancer can be dormant for many decades and incurable by the time symptoms emerge. If you work or have worked in any of the industries and/or occupations listed above and/or with any of the products listed, it may be wise to get screened for lung cancer. Especially if you live in one of the six states listed above as having the highest number of deaths from asbestos lung cancer. After your medical tests are complete, and a diagnosis is given, you then can begin to plan your course of action for you and your family.