Cabinet Makers

Cabinet makers work in a variety of industrial, commercial, and residential settings with many different crafting materials. Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was used in nearly every cabinet component and construction process. Cabinet makers were often exposed to asbestos dust during cabinet building and installation.

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Cabinet Makers and Asbestos Exposure

No matter where a cabinet maker works, it’s sure to be dusty. Cabinet making involves numerous processes to shape and finish wood as well as other porous materials.

As cabinet components are cut, sawn, sanded, and finished, the process creates clouds of fine dust particles.

Dust is a natural part of the cabinet-making process and nearly impossible to avoid. Unfortunately, this dust used to contain asbestos.

During the 20th century, many materials in the cabinet making industry were asbestos-based, and anyone who used them was put at risk of deadly health problems later on.

How Cabinet Makers Were Exposed to Asbestos

While cabinet makers were often exposed to asbestos in their own products, they also encountered asbestos in their work environment. Many cabinet makers completed their work directly on construction job sites rather than in a factory or shop setting.

Cabinet makers often inhaled asbestos dust from:

  • Drywall and other wallboard products including adhesives and joint tape
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Insulation used in walls as well as kitchen and bathroom pipes
  • Roof shingles and roofing paper
  • Masonry mortar dust and other asbestos cement products

While new construction sites posed a serious risk of asbestos exposure to cabinet makers, demolition, and renovation sites could be equally hazardous.

Did You Know?

Even today, cabinet makers work on renovations in older houses and commercial buildings that contain asbestos. Tearing apart old work releases dormant asbestos fibers into the air.

Asbestos fibers are microscopic and invisible. Dust from cutting, sawing, or sanding products containing asbestos released the deadly fibers into the air where unsuspecting cabinet makers could inhale them.

Cabinet workers could put their family at risk of exposure by returning home wearing dusty work clothes contaminated with asbestos fibers.

When disturbed, these fibers would float through the air, where they could be ingested or inhaled by family members.

Asbestos Products Used in Cabinet Making

Asbestos became popular in the cabinet making industry back in the 1930s and was a prominent material used in cabinets until the 1980s.

Common asbestos-containing cabinet making products included: 

  • Paper linings in cabinet interiors
  • Veneers on cabinet exteriors
  • Adhesives and glues
  • Particleboard
  • Paints and finishes
  • Custom countertops

Long-term use of these products resulted in multiple generations of cabinet builders and installers being regularly exposed to asbestos-containing products.

Cabinet Maker Careers

Cabinet makers are skilled craftspeople who build fine woodworking pieces. Their most well-known work involves constructing kitchen and bathroom cabinets or creating built-in storage units in laundry areas.

However, professional cabinet makers historically worked on a broad spectrum of industrial, commercial, and residential manufacturing and installation sites.

Cabinet making is a complicated and precise profession. It takes years to build proficiency in the creation of fine joinery and finishes.

Cabinet makers work on many different job sites and facilities, such as:

  • Commercial cabinet making factories that mass-produce units
  • Specialty shops that build custom cabinets and furniture
  • Manufacturing facilities that create cabinet accessories like doors, drawers, and countertops
  • Installation locations in commercial and residential buildings
  • Renovation sites where old cabinets are removed and replaced

Many cabinet makers dedicate their careers to improving their skills and experimenting with new materials.

Cabinet Maker Health Risks

Cabinet makers who were exposed to asbestos dust are at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.

Did You Know?

When inhaled, asbestos fibers become lodged in the linings of major organs. These tiny fibers are impossible to expel and irritate healthy tissue for decades, causing cancerous mesothelioma tumors to form.

Mesothelioma is a serious health threat to all cabinet makers who were exposed to asbestos. This rare type of cancer has no cure, and typically not diagnosed until it has spread throughout the body.

Help for Mesothelioma Victims

If you’re one of the unfortunate cabinet makers who developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation may help cover your medical expenses and lost income or provide personal injury payments to you and your family.

Families who lost a loved one to asbestos exposure may be eligible for compensation as well. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against negligent asbestos material manufacturers and distributors.

Our Justice Support Team can tell you more about legal and medical assistance for those with mesothelioma. Get a free case review today.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:


Stephanie Kidd grew up in a family of civil servants, blue-collar workers, and medical caregivers. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University, she began her career specializing in worker safety regulations and communications. Now, a proud member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Justice Network, Stephanie serves as a voice for mesothelioma victims and their families.

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