Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, not only from daily job tasks, but also running the risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses. Although asbestos isn’t used as much today in construction parts, there was a time in the past when numerous materials were made with the toxic material due to its resistance to heat and fire. In turn, construction workers were at risk of ingesting asbestos fibers, known for causing toxic illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
Study on Asbestos and Construction Workers
According to a 2004 study published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an estimated 1.3 million in the U.S. are still at risk for asbestos exposure. Since the majority of asbestos today is found in old appliances, products, and machinery, construction workers at the highest risk are those who work on old equipment and buildings. Construction workers who work around insulation in older homes and buildings are also at a heightened risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Types of Construction Workers at Risk
The construction industry provides numerous types of jobs for workers. Some construction workers are not as in as much danger of inhaling asbestos fibers as others, yet according to studies, the following occupations have at least some risk of workers developing an asbestos-related disease.
When cutting and shaping drywall panels, drywall workers run the risk of ingesting asbestos fibers that are let loose once the drywall has been tampered with. In addition, sanding down taping compounds results in high amounts of asbestos fibers releasing and permeating through the air. Today, drywall workers aren’t at risk when working on newer structures, but any home or building built prior to the 1980s may contain asbestos and place workers at risk.
Roofers and Tilers
Roofer and tilers who work on asbestos-containing shingles and tiles are exposed to asbestos fibers each time a tile or shingle is removed or repaired. Numerous roof and floor products in the past were constructed with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), and many homes and buildings with these materials result in workers being asbestos fibers well above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) permissible limit.
Bricklayers and masons used to mix asbestos into other materials and then slab the mixture onto bricks, stones, and other products. They would also size the products into place and secure them, putting themselves at risk for additional asbestos exposure. Although bricklayers and masons today hardly ever use asbestos-containing products, thousands and more workers in the past were exposed daily when working.
Pipefitters are responsible for sanding down and cutting products that contain asbestos, in addition to installing and the fitting the pipes correctly. Gaskets also once contained a large amount amount of asbestos and some pipefitters are responsible for sanding them down so that they fit normally.
Pipefitters can be exposed to a variety of asbestos-containing products while working, including Aircell asbestos paper, silica mixed with asbestos, laminated sponge felts, and joint compound.
Other construction-type occupations at risk of asbestos exposure include:
- Home renovators
- Wrecking crews
- Demolition crews
- Labor helpers
Construction Workers and Asbestos Lawsuits
There have been numerous construction who’ve filed mesothelioma lawsuits against asbestos suppliers and manufacturers. For example, in 2012, John Doherty, a New York resident who worked as a construction acoustical worker and a carpenter filed an asbestos lawsuit due to years he spent working as a contractor around asbestos at the World Trade Center. For around 15 years, Doherty shaped, cut, and installed asbestos sheetrock and tiles in both towers.
Doherty developed asbestos-related lung cancer as a result of working around the asbestos products for numerous years during the 1960s and early 1970s. He was employed by the Port of New York Authority, but did contract work for construction companies. Doherty sued Tishman Realty and Construction Co., claiming that the site manager had knowledge of workers being exposed to asbestos, yet didn’t provide any protection to the workers nor advise of them of asbestos exposure.
The Supreme Court upheld Doherty’s case and ruled in his favor. Unfortunately, the former contractor passed away due to complications with his disease.
Additional Information and Resources for Construction Workers
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related cancer, you may qualify for significant compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area.