Occupations With High Risk of Asbestos Exposure?

Military Exposure

Asbestos was used across all branches of the military for many years. Navy veterans were exposed to high levels of asbestos while serving on ships (aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines, battleships, warships, etc.) in the naval fleet as well as in naval shipyards across the country. Army veterans were exposed to asbestos in buildings on military installations and while working on military vehicles. Air Force veterans were exposed while working with military aircraft. Marine Corps veterans that spent time at sea aboard Navy ships were exposed to asbestos. All veterans exposed to asbestos have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.

Commercial and Industrial Exposure

Many workers and maintenance contractors at industrial and commercial job sites were subjected to dangerous levels of asbestos on the job. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer. The types of jobsites where asbestos exposure occurred include oil refineries, power plants, steel mills and chemical plants to name a few. They all have “high heat” environments where the use of fire and heat resistant materials was required, be it in the construction of the plants or machinery or in the protective clothing that workers were required to wear in designated areas (i.e. fire-proof gloves and aprons). Today, even though the use of asbestos has been banned in the United States, many existing industrial and commercial structures may still contain a certain level of asbestos. It is important that appropriate safety precautions be taken, where necessary, to prevent harmful exposure and to mitigate the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Commercial Product Exposure

Do-it-yourself home renovation enthusiasts, as well as those who worked in the construction trade, may have been exposed to asbestos while working with popular building and construction products. Many of these products were made with asbestos through the late 1970’s as the projects they were to be used in required that they be heat and fire resistant. They included insulation, roofing material, siding, joint compound, ceiling tiles, flooring and more. Unfortunately when any of these products were cut, sawed filed, or sanded, asbestos fibers were released into the air. In the majority of cases, those working with the products did not use appropriate safety precautions because asbestos companies withheld information about the health hazards of asbestos for many years. Today, as a result, construction workers and do-it-yourselfers are at risk for developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Exposure

The longer that you were exposed to asbestos and the higher the intensity increases your chances of having mesothelioma. However, it can take only one day of exposure to high amounts of asbestos to get the disease. Since the asbestos fibers are very thin, they can easily make their way through the smallest of airways inside the lungs and hence cannot be taken out through cough or hard breath. These fibers penetrate deep into the lungs and settle on the pleura, the membrane around the lungs. After many years, they cause inflammation in the lungs, which leads to mesothelioma.

Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are those who have worked in an occupation where they were readily exposed to asbestos on a daily basis.

Trades Exposed to Asbestos

Trades that typically exposed individuals to asbestos:

  • Asbestos product manufacturing (insulation, roofing, building, materials)
  • Automotive repair (brakes & clutches)
  • Construction/contractors
  • Maritime
  • Miners
  • Offshore rust removals
  • Oil refineries
  • Power plants
  • Railroads
  • Sand or abrasive manufacturers
  • Shipyards / ships / ship builders
  • Steel mills
  • Tile cutters


Asbestos Used In Occupations

Occupations that may have exposed individuals to asbestos:

  • Auto Mechanics
  • Boiler makers
  • Bricklayers
  • Building Inspectors
  • Carpenters
  • Construction workers
  • Demolition workers
  • Drywallers
  • Electricians
  • Furnace Workers
  • Glazers
  • Grinders
  • Insulators
  • Iron workers
  • Laborers
  • Longshoremen
  • Maintenance workers
  • Merchant marines
  • Millwrights
  • Operating Engineers
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Sand blasters
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Steam fitters
  • Tile setters
  • Welders
  • S. Navy veterans


Industrial Products Containing Asbestos

Since asbestos was such an excellent insulator and had other beneficial properties, it has been widely used in many industrial products and in the military.

Asbestos was used in:

  • Brake linings
  • Instruments
  • Meters
  • Panels
  • Gaskets
  • Insulating Materials
  • Packing Material
  • Prefabricated-forms
  • Tubes
  • Cables
  • Capacitors
  • Paper-dielectric capacitors
  • Mixes
  • Block
  • Insulation
  • Pipe covering
  • Adhesives
  • Insulation felts
  • Thermal materials
  • Deck covering materials
  • Refractory
  • Mortar
  • Aggregate mixtures
  • Rods
  • Valves
  • Boilers