What Are the Dangers of Being a Chimney Sweep?

A person who is a chimney sweep regularly comes into contact with soot, the byproduct of burning materials. Soot is composed of many chemicals and materials, and what it is made of depends on what is being burned. What the chimneys are composed of could also factor into potential health hazards. Some chimneys had asbestos concrete lined inside the structure, and when a fire was being burnt, the toxins were released into the air. Because of this, even though almost 92% of chimney sweeps are men, the fact that asbestos and other chemicals were released into the air concerns every human and gender.

Removal of soot from chimneys needs to be done on a regular basis by a chimney sweep, or else the buildup could become a fire hazard. Inhaling the stirred-up chemicals and asbestos from the soot can negatively impact the health of those who are around it. With soot being a known carcinogen, many chimney sweeps are now dealing with the potential of being diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other forms of cancer. Here at Lung Cancer Center, we have the tools and connections to help any chimney sweepers who may have encountered any of the following situations or exposure sites to top-tier treatment options.

How Were Chimney Sweeps Exposed to Asbestos?

Before the 1980s, many homes were built using asbestos in their chimneys to add an additional layer of heat protection. A chimney’s parts may have contained asbestos cement or pipes inside the structure. Their exposure to asbestos may have happened during the installation or maintenance of chimneys that may have contained it. Since the acknowledgment of asbestos danger, there has been the addition of personal protective equipment (PPE) and guidelines that need to be followed. Prior to this, though, exposure to these types of chemicals associated with chimney sweeps was common and almost unpreventable.

PPE was introduced in many applications where people could be exposed to asbestos. Proper asbestos PPE may include a half or full-face respirator, full-body coveralls, and head and feet covers. Not all of these items may be needed depending on the situation, but your asbestos project manager (APM) should be able to clarify for you. Items that have been worn or used should be properly disposed of. All workplaces should have an operations and maintenance program that outlines the detailed protocols for handling asbestos products.

A chimney sweep should follow the guidelines given to them as closely as possible. Using proper PPE and following your guidelines should limit exposure to asbestos and other chemicals found in soot. Avoiding these protocols may result in severe health issues if exposure is prolonged, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, or some other respiratory-related disease. In some cases, Chimney sweeps carcinoma can even occur.

Chimney Sweep Products Associated with Asbestos

Chimney sweeps could have come in contact with multiple products containing asbestos.  Asbestos was added to cement and used in chimneys and other construction items to provide a strong bond to keep from cracking. Although cement is typically very durable, when under harsh enough environments, it could begin to deteriorate, and adding asbestos would add more durability. Exposure to asbestos cement may have been minimal as it was inside the product and wasn’t being filtered throughout the air, but the risk exists nonetheless.

Asbestos used in the piping and flues of a chimney may have created a significant health risk to those working around them. Asbestos fibers are able to freely move within the structures and land on the skin, hair, or clothing of an individual, as well as be inhaled by them. Damaged flues and pipes could result in no outside circulation, causing everything to back up into the house or building. The aftermath of this could result in a fire or dangerous asbestos fibers making their way into the building. More asbestos products connected to chimney sweeps include:

Chimney Sweeps and Mesothelioma Legal Options

Developing mesothelioma or other cancers as a direct result of being a chimney sweeper or from chimney asbestos products may give you legal options. If your employer or product manufacturer didn’t make safety equipment available to you and it resulted with being diagnosed with a medical condition, you should file an asbestos claim. There are a few routes you can consider when filing an asbestos lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits, asbestos trust funds, settlements, and wrongful death claims can be filed depending on whether you are targeting a manufacturer or a company.

To ensure fair compensation, consult an asbestos and mesothelioma attorney who can navigate factors like statute of limitations and state jurisdiction on your behalf. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be daunting, but you can take the necessary steps forward with the right legal support. Find a qualified lung cancer attorney to guide you through the process.