Aeronautical Engineers and Asbestos Exposure
Aeronautical engineers, also known as aerospace engineers, are highly trained professionals employed in building and maintaining all forms of air and spacecraft.
Ever since air travel began at the turn of the 20th century, aerospace engineers worked hands-on with highly technical machines and the products used to manufacture them. One of these primary products was asbestos.
Asbestos was an important part of aircraft construction from the early 1900s when aeronautical engineers realized its exceptional aviation properties.
Manufacturers supplied tons of asbestos-containing products to the aircraft industry despite early indications of potential health risks.
These manufacturers continued to sell asbestos-containing aircraft products to aerospace engineers well into the 1970s and early 1980s.
How Aeronautical Engineers Were Exposed to Asbestos
Throughout the 20th century, almost every type of air and space vessel used asbestos to some degree.
Types of aircraft that exposed aeronautical engineers asbestos included:
- Civilian personnel and commercial air transport vehicles
- Helicopters and other rotary-wing aircraft
- Military fighter and interceptor planes
- Military light and heavy bombers
- Military propeller and jet transport airplanes
- Missiles and guidance systems
- Spacecraft and exploratory craft
The following aeronautical engineers were at risk of asbestos exposure:
- Design Engineers: These professionals faced a lower exposure risk than researchers who tested and operated aircraft.
- Manufacturing Engineers: Designing and operating manufacturing systems put people at risk of a moderate amount of asbestos exposure during factory assembly.
- Maintenance Aeronautical Engineers: People carrying out aircraft maintenance faced the highest risk of asbestos exposure when disassembling and repairing components containing asbestos.
Some engineers suffered from regular asbestos exposure by directly working on aircraft. Others suffered secondhand exposure when asbestos fibers polluted their work environment.