Asbestos was long considered as a miracle material – it claims to be an excellent fire and heat resistant properties – but now it is known as a human carcinogen. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has a long history, back to ancient Greece. During the Roman Empire, asbestos was used as a building material and even component of fabric that would be used in many kinds of textiles, including clothing.
Throughout the Unites States, asbestos uses expanded in factories and other heavy industries during the Industrial Revolution. Asbestos was also used in chemical plants, in oil refineries, in shipyards, and on railroaded cars. Asbestos materials were used toline tanks and ovens in refineries, to insulate pipes and boilers in steam locomotives, and could be found literally everywhere.
More uses for asbestos were foundas the twentieth century progressed. It was used in automobiles, skyscrapers, and majorly in the construction industry. Many workers were at risk since they worked in asbestos-heavy industry and worked closely with asbestos by handled asbestos products.
Although the information about asbestos' health risks is widely known, the historical record revealed that many companies who used asbestos in their projects actually knew that the material was dangerous,but still continued to allow its use. Since more and more workers became sick, asbestos is now limited to use.
Asbestos ExposureAsbestos exposure mostly occurred in shipyards, at major construction job sites, aboard Navy vessels, and during renovation or construction of commercial buildings. People who frequently work in insulated piping and the vicinity boilers are also at risk.
Furthermore, people who work in older school buildings such as students, teachers, and others staff members may be at risk of exposure to asbestos products, like floor tiles or ceilings. Families of these workers are equally at risk, since the workers might carry home asbestos on their clothing.
Military ExposureAll the branches of the military had used asbestos for many years. Asbestos was used in ships, in the naval shipyards, and in the naval fleet. Thus, Navy veterans were exposed to high levels of asbestos.
Buildings on military installations and military vehicles are places where Army veterans were exposed to asbestos. Air Force veterans were exposed when working on their military aircrafts. While Marine Corps veterans were exposed in the Navy ships when they spent time at sea abroad. All veterans that have been exposed to asbestos for many years have increased a risk of contracting mesothelioma disease.
Commercial and Industrial ExposureMany maintenance contractors and workers on commercial and industrial job sites were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. Places, where asbestos exposure occurred, include power plants, steel mills, oil refineries, and some chemical plants. Their working environments are "high heat" environments that required installing heat and fire resistant materials, such as in the machinery or the construction of the plants where the workers need to wear protective clothes like aprons and fire-proof gloves in designated area.
Commercial Product ExposurePopular building and construction products were made with asbestos in the late 1970s, as they were required to be heat and fire resistant. Thus, people who interested in do-it-yourself home renovation and used it at home, along withworkers who worked in the construction trade, may have been exposed to asbestos.
They included roofing material, insulation, joint compound, siding, flooring, ceiling tiles, and more.
Unfortunately, people who worked with the products did not use proper safety precautions, since asbestos companies are hidden the information about the health risk of asbestos for many years. Hence, when any of these products were sanded, sawed filed, and cut, asbestos fibers were released into the air and inhaled by humans.
Second Hand ExposureWhat makes asbestos exposure more dangerous is that asbestos was affected not only the workers, but also their family members.
They are equally at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. It is called second-hand exposure. The workers who worked in highly exposed job sites, brought along asbestos fibers with them on their clothing, hair, or shoes.Thus, when they got home, those who responsible for laundering their work clothes or even small children who spent time with their parent before they cleaned themselves up, were also at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.