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According to OSHA, it’s estimated that 1.3 million work in an environment where they’re exposed to asbestos. Over recent decades, there has been a clear link proven between serious health problems and long-term exposure. Knowing what occupations put you at a higher risk is a must so that you can prevent unwanted exposure to this life-threatening substance.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is known as a fibrous material that has been used in the building industry. It’s known to be naturally resistant to heat and flames, which made it such a popular substance for insulation. However, it has been shown through many studies that exposure to large amounts of asbestos can cause deadly conditions, like mesothelioma.
Your Los Angeles personal injury attorney will reveal that asbestos is known to be a natural carcinogen. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, a carcinogen is a type of substance that causes cancer. Many people who have been exposed to this carcinogen for decades at their workplace without adequate protection are experiencing breathing problems and consistent coughing. Some known health conditions that are a result of asbestos exposure include:
- Lung Cancer
- Gastrointestinal Cancers
- Abnormalities In The Lining Of The Chest Cavity
What Jobs Are At A Higher Risk Of Exposure?
There is a list of top professionals that are at a higher risk for developing complications from exposure. These include workers in the following industries:
- Heating And Cooling Equipment Repair
What Materials Have Asbestos In Them?
As you learned above, asbestos is present in many different types of industries. It’s always a good idea to understand what materials in your particular industry may have been constructed with asbestos in the past and currently are constructed with it so that you can take protection against the harmful substance.
- Adhesives: Sealant, Cement, Ceiling Tiles, Wall Panels, Flooring Glue, Pipe Lagging
- Electrical Components: Shielding, Molded Cement Bases, Cable Wrap, Wire Insulation, Flash Guard Paper, Ebonized Panels
- Fireproofing Products: Tar Paper, Firefighter Gear, Spray-On Fireproofing Paint
- Insulation: Loose-Fill Insulation, Block Insulation, Spray-On Insulation, Acoustic Tiles, Pipe Wrap
- Sheeting: Flat Cement Sheets, Drywall, Roofing Shingles, Corrugated Cement Sheets
Are Asbestos Products Banned
As asbestos has been discovered to be a carcinogen, many manufacturers have gone to great lengths to get rid of products that contain this substance. In fact, it was starting to be phased out of the manufacturing process back in the 1980s. Official asbestos mining stopped in 2002.
The first reported case of asbestos-related problems was documented by medical experts in late 1800. The first official medical document stating the case of asbestosis was in 1907. However, this information was suppressed largely by the asbestos industry until 1964. This was when the rare lung cancer called mesothelioma hit the news.
At this point, the U.S. EPA got involved alongside the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Between 1970 and 1990, they worked together to successfully ban several common asbestos products. These include flooring felt, paper products, block insulation, spray-on coatings, fireplace decorations, wall compound, and filters used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. As of right now, manufacturers are only required to label any product as containing asbestos if it has more than one percent of asbestos in its makeup.
Employees Have Rights To Be Protected Against Asbestos
OSHA is a federal agency that monitors and enforces safe protection against asbestos in the workplace. They set permissible exposure limits for various industries that regularly work with asbestos. When exposure goes beyond these safe limits, your employer must supply you with on-the-job protection from asbestos. Some of the forms of protection they’re to provide you with include:
- Asbestos Safety Training
- Highly Ventilated Workspaces
- Daily Monitoring Of Asbestos Levels
- Protective Gear
- Post-Exposure Precautions Like Chemical Showers
While OSHA regulates many of these protection requirements, there are some local state agencies that add additional laws for employers. It’s best to speak with an experienced Los Angeles asbestos injury lawyer to understand the rights that you’re entitled to.
Legal Suits About Asbestos In The Workplace
Asbestos-related workplace lawsuits can be a bit confusing for anyone. The employee who suffered medical illness due to exposure to asbestos can sue various people and entities involved. These include:
- Their Employer
- The Owners Of The Worksite
- Sub-Contractors / Contractors Involved In The Work
In most cases, workers compensation will take over to handle remedying any medical conditions caused by the failure of an employer to properly protect their workers. Having an employer who already has an asbestos victim compensation fund will assist in streamlining the process to get the compensation that you deserve for your illness.
Hiring A Lawyer Is Important
A lawyer can assist you with a workers compensation claim and any lawsuits regarding asbestos exposure. It’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer as they’re experienced in this type of situation. Any attorney well-versed in employment accidents can provide you with the necessary health monitoring and testing services that will be invaluable in proving your case.
Most people don’t realize that asbestos is at the root of their condition until a medical expert points it out. This is because most who experience health problems like mesothelioma don’t show any symptoms until a decade or two later. If you think that you’ve been unwillingly exposed to high amounts of the harmful substance at your workplace, then you should hire a workplace accident lawyer to assist you in your case.