Asbestos, Cancer and the Construction Worker

Asbestos, Cancer and the Construction Worker




Exposure to asbestos can rule to the development of serious health problems later in life, including asbestos cancer. The overwhelming majority of people that develop asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma and asbestosis, were exposed to asbestos at some point during their occupational history. A number of occupations are considered to be at an increased risk for exposure. Shipyard and metal workers are thought to be among the most likely to have been exposed to asbestos during its heyday; however, today construction workers are probably at the greatest risk for on the job exposure to asbestos. Cancer and other health complications are shared for these workers.

It is estimated that over 1.3 million construction workers are exposed to asbestos each year. This exposure can occur in a number of different ways. Most buildings and many homes constructed before 1980 utilized the use of asbestos in one way or another, and anytime repairs or alterations are made to these asbestos containing structures there is a risk of exposure to asbestos.

Prior to government regulation asbestos was used in hundreds of products associated with the construction industry. The most shared use of asbestos was for insulation. The ability of the material to provide superior insulation while also being flame resistant made it a popular choice for almost any insulation application. Asbestos was used in cement to create a stronger and more heat resistant bond. It was also commonly used in floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and shingles. Plastics, paints, and sealants all utilized the use of asbestos. Cancer has been directly connected to this toxic product, which is what makes it so highly regulated now.

With millions of homes and buildings nevertheless littered with asbestos filled materials the risk of asbestos exposure in construction workers will be with us for some time. The government has enacted a number of regulations aimed protecting construction workers that ordinarily work around asbestos and creating a safer working ecosystem for this high risk occupation. If you’re concerned that you might be sick because of your exposure, ask your doctor about asbestos, cancer and other health complications.




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