Carpenters and Mesothelioma
Carpenters have more than likely been exposed to asbestos while working around construction materials throughout the 1900s and into the present day. Now a lot of workers are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma from their long-term exposure.
How Carpenters Encounter Asbestos
Historically through the 1900s, carpenters and asbestos products could have frequently been in contact with one another. Since carpenters and asbestos have frequently been in contact with one another on construction sites, it has led to many mesothelioma diagnoses. Their levels of exposure were vastly increased during the initial introduction of the product and from being consistently exposed to asbestos.
Products containing asbestos were used extensively in construction materials as their heat-resisting qualities provided proper durability and resistance. This inadvertently put carpenters across the nation at risk of inhaling deadly asbestos fibers while on the job.
Carpenters could have also been exposed to asbestos from the building’s boiler or related machine responsible for heating a structure. Many boilermakers have received a lung cancer diagnosis 20-30 years after their initial asbestos exposure. During the 1900s, boiler parts were being constructed using asbestos products for their heat resistance too. Regulations surrounding this kind of use of asbestos came around 1970 but have yet to receive a complete ban. The risk of exposure today for carpenters still exists as asbestos fibers and products are still used in older buildings today.
Asbestos Products Used by Carpenters
Most typical construction materials produced in the 1900s contained asbestos and came in contact with carpenters of all workplaces. Products that may have contained asbestos that carpenters would have come in contact with include:
- Asbestos blankets and tape
- Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets
- Hot water and steam pipes
- Wood-burning stoves covered with asbestos paper
After the 1980s, a majority of asbestos products were halted from being used, but some of those products that were installed and used during that era still exist today. Two acts were passed to halt the heavy use of asbestos in the U.S.—The Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 and the Clean Air Act of 1970. These acts gave the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) the right to impose restrictions on the use of over 62,000 chemicals, including asbestos; finally declared asbestos as a toxic substance; and allowed for regulations ensuring all workplaces where asbestos could be released into the air were disallowed.
Older buildings that may have used products with asbestos and are under construction or being demolished should take extra precautions to ensure the safety of workers. Hiring a licensed asbestos abatement professional to handle the removal is the best option. They will make sure their workers are wearing head-to-toe person protective equipment (PPE) that will not allow for asbestos fibers to be inhaled by the team. Since a carpenter is dealing with renovations on homes and buildings as well, they may unknowingly disturb asbestos in construction material and create asbestos dust which can then be inhaled. Continual inhalation of the dust may have inadvertently caused mesothelioma in many construction workers.
Common Carpenter Places That Most at Risk for Mesothelioma
Carpenters could have been exposed to asbestos while working in or around attics, basements, commercial buildings, walls, industrial facilities, and certain homes and schools—depending on how old the buildings are. Since most of the areas that have a potential for asbestos exposure are also common construction areas, carpenters may unknowingly be exposing themselves over a period of time for years. It is known that long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, but the damage done by asbestos-related products has already occurred.
After asbestos use was beginning to phase out, the risk of exposure then came back to light after the tragic events of 9/11 when asbestos dust was spread as the result of the destruction of buildings made prior to the 1980s. Today, materials left in many older buildings have accumulated and been disturbed inadvertently exposing thousands of people without them even knowing. While there isn’t one specific place that holds more amounts of asbestos compared to another, it is a good rule of thumb that places that have older building materials made prior to the 1980s most likely contain some amounts of asbestos.
Symptoms Linked to Carpenter Asbestos Exposure
Symptoms of carpenter asbestos exposure are comparable to many other diseases, and you may not think your symptoms are severe. You may start having shortness of breath, persistent cough, wheezing, fatigue, chest or shoulder pain, and possibly even swollen limbs. Pleural mesothelioma is exclusively caused by long-term asbestos exposure and is a lung cancer that sometimes takes 20 or more years to show symptoms. Roughly 8 out of 10 people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos. The profession of carpentry is a job that may have led to high exposure to asbestos fibers breathed in without even knowing or feeling symptoms.
The symptoms may seem mild at first, but they can progress to include night sweats and fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, fluid build-up in the chest or abdomen, coughing up blood, and more. Catching mesothelioma in the early stages of development is crucial for your quality of life. Although there are options for treatment and more are being introduced every year, stage 4 of mesothelioma treatment has very minimal rates of success since cancer has spread deep into the tissue.
Legal Compensation for Carpenters Exposed to Asbestos
Legal compensation for carpenters exposed to asbestos is available and depending on your circumstances, you may receive reasonable compensation. An average of mesothelioma claims can range between $1 to $1.5 million, but several factors include the type of illness, stage of illness, medical expenses, lost wages, company negligence, and companies named in a lawsuit. If you or someone you know have received a mesothelioma diagnosis, your next step may be to find out if compensation is applicable to you.
Finding a lawyer specializing in asbestos litigation who can help you gather the correct paperwork to document your situation is key. They can help fight your case so you can receive the appropriate payout in regard to your situation. The statute of limitations for asbestos claims varies from state to state and is something to keep in mind if you seek compensation. Don’t wait; speak with a professional today to know your options.