Exposure to asbestos while at work is a very real concern for millions of professionals who work in a variety of industries. Many people believe that exposure to asbestos is no longer a concern, but they are incorrect. The health and safety consequences of asbestos exposure are very serious, as previous asbestos exposure is the only known cause of pleural mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that attacks the lungs and presently has no known cure.
Asbestos may be found in a plethora of construction materials, including insulation, plaster, stucco, roofing tiles, drywall, and floor and ceiling tiles. If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, whether it is from fire, flood, or a renovation project, tiny asbestos fibers may be released into the air, putting individuals present in the area at risk for inhalation. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can cling to the pleural lining of the lungs for up to fifty years before an individual may begin to suffer from mesothelioma symptoms.
Professionals who work or have worked in the following industries are at a heightened risk for asbestos exposure:
Construction Auto Mechanics
Damage Restoration Boilermakers
Oil refining Millwrights
Custodial Iron work
Military Metal work
It is crucial that professionals understand how to protect themselves from asbestos exposure at work. Those who handle asbestos-containing materials should wear a mask that adequately covers the nose and mouth to prevent inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. In addition, proper ventilation in the workplace will prevent errant asbestos fibers and dust from settling on the floor and other objects. Disposable clothing items, such as eyewear, gloves, and outerwear should be worn and then disposed of prior to leaving the workplace to prevent transfer of asbestos fibers from the workplace to secondary locations. Proper safety procedures related to asbestos should be posted in the workplace so that all workers can educate themselves and take the appropriate precautions.
If a professional suspects that they may have been exposed to asbestos, it is advisable to consult with a doctor to determine whether or not they are at risk to develop mesothelioma. A mesothelioma diagnosis is a devastating reality – the majority of mesothelioma sufferers succumb to this extremely aggressive disease in less than two years following their initial diagnosis. There is no cure for mesothelioma cancer, but there are a variety of treatment options available.
The Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center is the web’s leading resource for information related to occupational asbestos exposure, mesothelioma, mesothelioma treatment, and more. Please visit the MAA Center website at www.maacenter.org for further information.