At some point in our lives, there is a high probability
that many of us have had asbestos exposure due to the asbestos products that were so widely used in the
past for multiple purposes. Majority of the time however, most of us don't suffer as a result of this
asbestos exposure as exposure limits are just not high enough to do
significant damage. On the other hand though, people who have been diagnosed with an
asbestos disease such as mesothelioma have worked in jobs which require the
workers to work with and be in close proximity to asbestos.
Nevertheless, many individuals have died from mesothelioma due to being a family member of the
worker, who have brought the killer fibres home on the clothes, skin and hair, whilst others have died who lived in
close range to manufacturing plants. The problem with asbestos is that symptoms do not appear until years
Asbestos first started out commercially in North America during the 1800's
but once World War II erupted, the use of it increased exponentially. From then it was used extensively in the
shipyards for producing massive numbers of ships for the success of the war. This lead to a knock on effect of
it being used for construction, the automotive industry as well as the manufacturing industry. All together,
there was more than 5000 products invented, all of which contained asbestos.
For over 5 decades,
asbestos products remained unregulated with the manufacturers continuing to
produce, sell and make millions whilst knowing all the time that the workers
would eventually suffer as a result of their actions.
On a positive note, during the 1970's, the 'Consumer
Products Safety Commission' banned the use of certain asbestos products as the fibres could be released
during use. This further progressed with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) banning new uses developed
for asbestos. Over all the deaths and all the problems, asbestos has still not been made fully illegal with
it still being used in certain places at the owners own risk without concern for others.
Asbestos Exposure, Occupations & Job
Recent statistics has demonstrated that many people who never
work with asbestos have indeed developed asbestos related diseases, the majority of the victims lies within
Naturally, job sites such as manufacturing and
processing plants and mines where asbestos was made, have a
reputation of having high asbestos levels and risks.
On the other hand, many places where people work are also exposed
to asbestos such as oil refineries, shipyards, power & chemical plants. Many jobs within these industries
were also exposed to asbestos.
Many jobs are at a higher risk in comparison to others as
different jobs came into contact with asbestos more frequently than others and certain jobs used many
asbestos products in the past.
An example of this would be regarding tradesmen such as
electricians & plumbers, as many buildings have asbestos integrated into them, they are exposed almost
everyday depending where they are working. Other occupations that would be in danger of this would be jobs
such as fire starters, auto mechanics, machinists railway road workers and builders involved in renovation
Asbestos was so vastly used by divisions of the
Armed Forces, for the purpose of insulation within crafts, buildings & vehicles.
However, one division that used asbestos so much was
within the forces of the Navy, which discovered 100's of reasons to
make use of asbestos for more than 40 years.
Asbestos was such the perfect material at the time, that its use
was exploited in World War II for the production of ships. This led to thousands of people being exposed to
asbestos such as Navy Veterans.
Other Exposure Accounts
Most cases undoubtedly happen during the working force, but there are other instances when
people came into contact with asbestos. One example would be the attack of '911' on the Twin Towers of New
York (World Trade Centre). There was reportedly meant to be around 2000 tons of asbestos released into the
atmosphere which will affect thousands in years to come. It is already thought that a high 62% of those
that were caught are already suffering from breathing and respiratory issues.
Another era of accidental and unavoidable exposure was due to Hurricane
Katrina. This destroyed thousands of older houses that withheld asbestos. After 3 years of
trying to resolve issues, there was still asbestos control measures occurring to prevent exposure to many
people. This will cause many problems for many people in later life.