Occupations Associated with Asbestos Exposure

For a long time, the use of asbestos was widespread. Many workers encountered asbestos products or even raw asbestos in bulk at their workplaces or at other sites as a part of their job.

Asbestos was used in numerous products, including:

  • Insulation
  • Fire retardants and barriers
  • Roofing shingles
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Paper products
  • Cement products
  • Automotive friction products, including brakes, clutches and transmission parts
  • Heat-resistant fabrics and protective clothing
  • Boilers and furnaces
  • Packaging, gaskets and coatings.

Mesothelioma typically takes decades to produce symptoms. Most people who suffer from mesothelioma can look back at their employment history and realize that they were directly exposed to asbestos fibers at a jobsite.

The types of tradesmen and workers most likely to have had workplace asbestos exposure include:

  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Brake Mechanics
  • Bricklayers
  • Carpenters
  • Cement Finishers
  • Chemical Plant Workers
  • Crane Operators
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Foundry Workers
  • Inspectors
  • Insulators
  • Laborers
  • Lathers
  • Longshoremen
  • Machinists
  • Maintenance Workers
  • Masonry Workers
  • Merchant Marine Seamen
  • Millwrights
  • Navy Yard Workers (“Yardbirds”)
  • Painters
  • Paper Mill Workers
  • Pipe Coverers
  • Pipefitters
  • Plant Workers
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Powerhouse Workers
  • Railroad Workers
  • Roofers
  • Sailors
  • Sheetmetal Workers
  • Steamfitters
  • Tapers
  • Welders.

Some people who develop mesothelioma did not work around asbestos. Instead, they were exposed when their loved one carried asbestos fibers home on their skin, hair or clothing.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has estimated that around 11 million people were exposed to asbestos from 1940 to 1978. The length and extent of exposure, as well as genetics and general health, will affect how many of these people will ultimately develop mesothelioma. The number of annual mesothelioma cases is still on the rise and is expected to peak around 2020.


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