Asbestos Exposure in Construction A Once and Future Hazard

Currently, falls at jobsites are the number one killer of construction workers, claims the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). In a December 2012 memorandum, OSHA also notes how it’s trying to remedy that with a new program.

However, there is still the danger of asbestos, which the United States only began regulating in the 1970s.  About two-thirds of asbestos-containing products are created for construction materials. Some 1.3 million construction workers face asbestos exposure annually, and often aren’t given adequate training or equipment to cope with it. Currently, workers who are renovating or demolishing buildings erected from 1950 to 1980 are particularly at risk.

A little background will help. From the 1920s until about 1980, builders needed a material that was cheap, versatile, strong, and fireproof. The mineral asbestos became the substance of choice, and so the building industry applied it in countless construction products. Many people know that asbestos was heavily used in insulation, roofing, cement shingles, cement, floor tiles, spray fireproofing, and other construction materials. However, there were many other lesser-known asbestos products. Many cements, adhesives, and flexboard products contained asbestos, as did the linings of some swimming pools. In short, asbestos was everywhere on construction sites.

When an asbestos-containing material is disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. There they can hang for a long time and be inhaled or swallowed, and eventually cause mesothelioma and other fatal diseases. However, diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma have a protracted latency period, often as long as 40 years. It took decades for the public to recognize the dangers of asbestos, and by then, the damage had already been done.

Do you have mesothelioma you believed you developed from construction jobsite exposure? Then you may be entitled to financial compensation through a mesothelioma lawsuit. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.