From creating cabinets to installing insulation and drywalls and more, carpentry work is an important part of the construction industry. The trade has been around for thousands of years and still continues to be an important occupation today. Like many other hands-on jobs, however, carpentry exposed countless workers to asbestos.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.
Carpentry and Asbestos
Carpenters don’t face as much asbestos exposure as they once did, especially between the late 1930s until around 1980, when asbestos use in construction materials was at its peak. Yet, even today asbestos exposure remains a real concern for carpenters. For instance, carpenters often work on remodeling projects with structures that were built with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Carpenters may be required to sand, cut through, and remove asbestos products that contain asbestos, such as insulation and tiles.
Most carpenters protect themselves today by wearing the appropriate safety gears, but for years, they would breathing in dangerous asbestos fibers that flew around that area each time they worked. Many workers would even go home covered in asbestos dust, which put family members at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.
Studies on Carpenters and Asbestos
A number of studies have been performed throughout the years that confirmed what was already suspected by scientists: carpenters have a higher than average chance of asbestos exposure. In 1983, over 100 buildings across the U.S. were included in a study regarding fireproofing insulation. The majority of the buildings in the study were created with asbestos-containing insulation, specifically chrysotile asbestos.
When carpenters began renovating the buildings, they were exposed to around 16 asbestos fibers (dry) per cubic centimeter of space. This was more than triple the amount of asbestos they were exposed prior to starting the projects, which measured at around 2 fibers per cubic centimeter.
In another study, published in 1995 by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), results indicated that pleural plaques were the most prevalent type of asbestos-related injuries sustained by more than 600 of the 7,349 carpenters who participated in the research. Sometimes, it takes only several months of asbestos exposure for carpenters to develop an asbestos illness. For instance, a 2010 Danish study showed that a man who developed fluid buildup in both lungs had no other cause that a doctor could find, aside from working around asbestos for about six months during the 1970s.
In Britain, a study concluded that around 1 in 10 people who worked as carpenters during the 1960s will die from asbestos-related illnesses, particularly malignant mesothelioma. Professor Julian Peto, one of the lead researchers on the study, carried out by Cancer Research UK, stated that for a number of years, asbestos was used with wild abandon in the carpentry industry, and former carpenters are now paying a huge price for the mistakes of others.
“Huge quantities of these asbestos materials were brought in from South Africa. It was being sawed up on every building site without any control at all. It just wasn’t appreciated that exposure was heavier and it was far larger numbers of people exposed. It was an error by science and society. We have shown that the risk in some occupations, particularly the building industry, is higher than we previously thought. If you are exposed in your 20s you have a huge lifetime risk of mesothelioma.”
There were a number of manufacturers that supplied asbestos-containing products to the carpentry industry in the past. The most common companies included:
- Georgia-Pacific Company: Georgia-Pacific primarily supplied drywall adhesives and joint compounds to the carpentry and construction industry.
- U.S. Gypsum Company: U.S. Gypsum supplied adhesives, cements, plaster, and roofing materials to the carpentry and construction industry.
- Congoleum Corporation: This company mostly supplied different types of asbestos-containing flooring products to the carpentry and construction industry.
These companies, as well as a number of other companies, have faced asbestos lawsuits in the past. Congoleum Corporation had so many lawsuits against it that it organized an asbestos trust fund to compensate future claimants. To learn more about trust funds, refer to our article, Mesothelioma Trust Funds.
Additional Information and Resources for Asbestos Victims
Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, 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. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.