Asbestos exposure is serious. The substance is a human carcinogen known to cause fatal cancers within all types of individuals. Although asbestos is all around us, some people are more at risk than others to develop an asbestos-related disease after exposure. Construction workers are some of those most at risk for diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma, but why?
1) Older buildings contain asbestos. Up until the 1990s, asbestos was used extensively within residential homes and buildings. Everywhere, from the basement to the attic, contained asbestos insulation, flooring, and more. If a construction worker is remodeling or demolishing an older home, it is likely that asbestos is present and should be dealt with appropriately.
2) Different construction materials contain asbestos. Older construction materials, including cement, textiles, tiles, and adhesives, are known to have been made with asbestos fibers. It is estimated that more than 1 million construction workers are exposed every year to materials that contain asbestos.
3) Improper or no training on handling asbestos. It is often the case that construction workers are not informed by project managers or building owners about the risk of asbestos present at a job. They are unaware of the proper precautions to take with the substance, and end up breathing in thousands of fibers that can become trapped in their lungs for years or decades. Eventually, an asbestos-related disease can develop.
All of these reasons put construction workers at risk for exposure at work and make them some of those most at risk for developing an illness years after they worked around asbestos.
Learn more about Construction Workers and Asbestos Exposure on our website.