If you ever worked in the construction trade before the 1980s, you should be aware that you may have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous rock that was used in homes and other buildings until at least the early 1980s.
Asbestos was used heavily in construction in the United States and other countries because it is an affordable, excellent insulator, protects from fire, and also reduces corrosion.
Unfortunately, working with asbestos-containing materials in construction without safety protection can lead to serious health problems. Working with or near damaged asbestos causes billions of sharp, invisible fibers to be released into the air. Breathing in these fibers can cause pleural mesothelioma, and swallowing them can cause peritoneal mesothelioma. (HSE.gov.uk).
What makes the situation even worse is that most construction companies knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure, yet did little to protect their workers. This gross negligence has led to the deaths of thousands of construction workers, and more will die in the future, as mesothelioma can develop 30 or 40 years after asbestos exposure.
Where Asbestos Was Used in Construction
Asbestos was used in most commercial and public buildings that were built before the 1980s in the US. The material was used for fireproofing when applied to steel beams and columns during the construction of large buildings.
Because of its low cost and strength, asbestos was put into asphalt, concrete, pipes, shingles, wallboard, floor tiles, joint compounds, and adhesives. Asbestos also was used in acoustical plaster and was sprayed on walls and ceilings. (EHSO.com).
Asbestos also was used in the construction of most American homes before the 1980s. Asbestos usually lined the floors, walls, and ceilings of homes that were the residences of millions of Americans, putting consumers and construction workers at risk. (Clevelandclinic.org).
Construction Occupation Exposure
Many people who worked in construction trades for years were exposed to asbestos. These workers are at a higher risk of developing asbestos cancer. Asbestos was used often in construction trades because of its insulating and fire resistance qualities. There were tens of thousands of homes and buildings constructed between the 1920s and the 1980s that were made with asbestos-containing materials. (NIH.gov).
Some of the at-risk construction trades for asbestos exposure include:
- Drywall workers
- Tile installers
Some of the common construction materials that are known to have contained asbestos include floor tiles, roof tiles, roof coatings, ceiling tiles, siding, insulation, plasters, paint, and more. As workers used these materials during construction, the asbestos fibers could be disturbed and released into the air where they could be inhaled or ingested.
Construction Worker Asbestos Exposure – The Science Behind It
There are many occupational health entities that agree that building projects contaminated with asbestos boost construction workers’ chances of getting mesothelioma. Many state registries keep track of lung cancer and mesothelioma cases in contractors that were exposed to asbestos.
A study in North Carolina found higher rates of several peritoneal cancers in construction workers. That study also found higher rates of lung cancer in painters, carpenters, and brick masons. (NIH.gov). A study in Italy connected 251 asbestos cancer cases to various types of work in the construction trades. (Nature.com)
In addition, there have been studies that found a higher number of asbestos fibers in the lungs of older construction workers. The greater quantities of asbestos fibers were found in people both with a diagnosed cancer and those who had not been diagnosed. In the Italian study of industrial workers, researchers found between 350k and 3 million asbestos fibers in every workers’ lungs.
A study performed by NIH found lung abnormalities in construction workers who had worked three decades in the field. (NIH.gov)
A study by the CDC found that at least 70% of asbestos exposure in the 20th century was caused by construction work. Out of 23 states that were studied, 96% of deaths from mesothelioma were linked to construction or shipbuilding. (CDC.gov)
Lawsuits Related to Asbestos Exposure in the Construction Industry
If you were a construction worker and was diagnosed with mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, you could be eligible for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Compensation can include money for medical expenses, lost earnings, and related damages.
Families of deceased construction workers with mesothelioma also can apply for compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Attorneys for Construction Workers
If you worked in the construction trades and were exposed to asbestos, you may want to talk to a personal injury attorney today. The attorneys listed below have a strong record working with construction workers with mesothelioma:
Brayton & Percell LLP
222 Rush Landing Road
Novato CA 94945
Brayton & Percell LLP is a San Francisco-based law firm that frequently represents construction workers who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. One of their recent cases was a $13 million verdict for a retired electrician who got mesothelioma from years of asbestos exposure on the job. The assessment included $6 million in punitive damages.
The Gori Law Firm
360 Lexington Avenue, 20th Floor
New York NY 10017
The Gori Law Firm has more than a decade of experience representing workers who were exposed to asbestos in their occupation. Their attorneys can retrace your work history to identify the companies you worked for, the projects worked on, and the contracting companies that were on the job. This law firm has obtained $3 billion in compensation for mesothelioma victims.
The Law Offices of Wallace & Graham
525 N. Main St.
Salisbury NC 28144
The Law Offices of Wallace & Graham have spent decades representing many injury victims from construction workers to electricians, to power plant workers. Many of those the firm represented were exposed to asbestos at work and suffered from terrible and painful asbestos cancer. Their attorneys have even helped to change the law. They worked on a case before the Tennessee Supreme Court, where a woman died from asbestos cancer at 20 after being heavily exposed from infancy to asbestos on her father’s work clothes. The Supreme Court in the state found that the man’s employer had a duty to workers’ families, thereby establishing the rule that manufacturers can be held liable for secondhand asbestos exposure.