Many experience asbestos exposure through the workplace. Workplaces may have been filled with toxic materials, and employers may have failed to warn of the serious health risks of the job. Filing a suit helps to raise the awareness of job safety.
When asbestos breaks down over time or with use, the fibers of the material can become airborne, presenting a risk of inhaling or ingesting the toxin. Asbestos is a cancer-causing agent, and those heavily exposed can develop scarring in the lungs and later develop lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Asbestos was widely used in piping, insulation, electrical components, machine parts, packaging, flooring, ceiling tiles, roofing, and in many building materials.
If you were exposed to asbestos at your workplace, and have developed cancer or a related illness, you are likely to qualify for compensation.
Asbestos was cheap, durable, fire-resistant and light, and was thought to be the perfect insulating material before research showed it was extremely hazardous to the health.
According to a series of medical studies, workers in the metals and steel industry are at an increased risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Workers that regularly inhale asbestos fibers may eventually develop severe scarring of the lungs, and fatal diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Even family members of steel factory workers are at risk of potential second-hand exposure. Asbestos fibers may be brought home on the clothes or skin of an employee.
Health issues related to asbestos exposure often develop many years after exposure, so former steel plant workers should monitor their health for signs of an asbestos-related lung disease. About 3,000 U.S. citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma this year.
As a result of widespread occupational exposure to toxic substances like asbestos, many former workers in Ohio are filing lawsuits to help compensate for their debilitating, and deadly illnesses.
For a typical steel mill worker, direct handling of machinery, equipment and material in steel plants expose them to large amounts the toxic materials on a daily basis.
It is estimated that asbestos was added to more than 3,000 construction products, many used in the steel industry. Employees who worked in high-temperature settings wore asbestos coats and leggings during certain production processes. Clothing such as gloves, aprons, coveralls and facemasks contained asbestos materials.
From the 1940s through the end of the 1970s, steel mills also commonly used asbestos as an insulation material. Steel mills in Ohio were constructed with toxic materials in refractory bricks, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and liner boards. Asbestos blankets, used for covering ladles, were often strewn about carelessly on the plant floors.
Asbestos was used to insulate equipment, which included the following:
Public health specialists say each year thousands of auto-repair workers are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. A warning published by the Automotive Safety Association found that approximately 1 in 10 mechanics at auto repair shops could be at risk for developing an asbestos-related cancer.
Since repair shops also are often short on air circulation, the combination enclosed work spaces and free-floating asbestos fibers makes the occupation particularly dangerous. Ohio General Motors Workers can contact The Lyon Firm, an Ohio asbestos attorney, for more information on their risk factors.
Reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advise mechanics to “assume that all brakes have asbestos-type shoes.” They go on to say it is impossible to know if brake or clutch components contain asbestos by visual inspection. The danger to mechanics will continue for decades as asbestos-filled brakes on warehouse shelves continue to be installed on vehicles.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are asbestos-containing materials in the majority of Ohio’s schools. Asbestos was commonly used in the materials used to construct schools in Ohio, which means children may be exposed anywhere on the premises, included in classrooms, cafeterias, hallways and gymnasiums.
In 2013, inspectors found damaged asbestos that needed repair or removal in more than 600 locations at more than 180 schools in Chicago. In 2014, families and teaching staff at several California school districts were seriously concerned when contractors removed asbestos materials unsafely earlier that year.
The school districts reportedly failed to warn parents and teachers about the project, and also failed to use proper preventative measures to prevent exposure. The schools and its contractors violated EPA regulations and put teachers and students at risk.
Due to the extreme heat and fire hazards at Ohio power plants, asbestos insulation was regularly installed throughout buildings in the walls, pipes, boilers, electric and most machinery before the 1980s. As a result, many plants workers were exposed to asbestos, possibly inhaling loose fibers into their lungs, potentially causing serious diseases and cancers like mesothelioma.
Aside from the buildings being filled with asbestos, Ohio workers in some capacities often raised their risk of exposure by wearing asbestos-containing protective clothing, including coats, aprons, mitts and masks.
Over time, asbestos insulation and products break down and release toxic fibers into the air, endangering thousands of workers in power plants such as welders, electricians, pipefitters and maintenance workers in contact with insulated areas.
For the last 75 years, shipyard workers have been among those in the U.S. workforce with an elevated risk of asbestos exposure. Particularly before 1980, it is likely that workers in the ship building industry were in contact with dangerous levels of asbestos, increasing their chances of developing diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.
A 2008 study, published by the Ulster Medical Society, indicated shipyard workers have an asbestosis mortality rate 16-times greater than other studied occupations. Authorities have estimated that thousands of shipyard workers—many in Ohio—have died as a result of excess asbestos exposure.
Nearly any construction, renovation or demolition site in Ohio could have the potential to expose workers to harmful asbestos fibers. Asbestos has numerous applications in the construction industry, and many were used as common practice up until the 1980s in the construction of homes, schools and commercial buildings. Some of the most commonly used materials include the following:
Asbestos exposure and its deadly consequences are an ongoing issue throughout the country. Medical studies estimate that the cumulative total number of asbestos associated deaths in the United States may exceed 200,000 by the year 2030.
Construction companies and manufacturers of building materials have a responsibility to provide America’s employees with safe working environments.
The following tasks are associated with possible high asbestos exposure:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will no longer evaluate asbestos in homes and businesses as a serious danger or health risk, as the EPA announced in recent reports.
The EPA asbestos decisions, under Scott Pruitt, decided it is unnecessary to evaluate the health risks of the toxic substance despite the continuing workplace and home hazards that still lead to mesothelioma deaths for up to 3,000 Americans each year.
The agency will still evaluate and require approval for any new use of asbestos, but let the already-present toxin remains in many public building, businesses, schools, houses and hospitals. Fifty-five countries have a total ban on the use of asbestos, including nations like the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Japan.
The new EPA asbestos stance has gone mostly undeterred because the current administration sees eye-to-eye on safety deregulation and pro-corporate interests. The health and safety of American workers and consumers, however, already in danger, could lose its footing as the EPA drifts toward toxic tolerance.
According to the EPA Website, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. That risk is made worse by certain factors, such as smoking and long-term exposure in workplaces known to be laden with the toxin.
There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure, and the greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing severe health problems. Lung disease symptoms may lay dormant after exposure, and can take years to develop.
Asbestos-related health conditions can be difficult to identify and confused with other respiratory health issues. Healthcare professionals help identify the possibility of asbestos exposure by looking at the person’s medical, work, and environmental history. Known major health effects have been linked to asbestos exposure including lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, adenocarcinoma and mesothelioma.
On one hand the EPA regards asbestos as a cancer-causing agent, which fills older buildings and presents health hazards to various Ohio workers and consumers, and yet the agency has not taken measures to eradicate the toxin as safety advocates say they could.
The EPA has not properly evaluated the dangerous legacy of existing and so levels of contamination are unknown in Ohio. We do know asbestos exists in many areas in homes, schools, hospitals, factories, auto products, and workplaces but there is little help in evaluating an individual’s Ohio asbestos exposure risks.
Despite a significant reduction in the use of asbestos in past decades, annual deaths continue because asbestos-related diseases lay dormant.
To the untrained eye, it may be impossible to identify an asbestos product unless labeling indicates a known asbestos name brand. Even taking normal precautions, a visual inspection of a building structure is not sufficient to determine if it contains asbestos.
Rather, abatement professionals should contacted and samples of suspected asbestos fibers should be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines how to collect material samples that may contain asbestos, but the American Lung Association recommends hiring a certified asbestos professional.
There may be dangerous asbestos materials in any older building in the U.S. built before 1980. If notice the following when identifying asbestos, it may be prudent to contact a professional to help assess the risk and need of abatement.
• Asbestos Insulation Board was commonly used in walls, building façades, ceilings, fire-proofing, and elevator shafts. It can be found in kitchens and bathrooms. Sometimes the material has been coated with paint or clad with tiles.
• Ceiling Tiles may contain asbestos and there are several different types. When dealing with older ceiling tiles it is best to wait for a professional to identify the type.
• Asbestos Cement products were widely used due to the product longevity. Products include roofing sheets, roof tiles, flues and drainage pipes.
• Asbestos Corrugated Cement Roofing Sheets were used in a number of applications including garages, sheds and commercial buildings.
• Vinyl Tiles containing asbestos were used until the 1980s. Often hidden beneath other flooring, asbestos tiles were commonly used prior to more decorative finishes.
• Asbestos Sheet Vinyl was used as a backing material or as a decorative finish. These may be found in toilet seats, cisterns or window sills.
• Asbestos Textured Coatings were used to cover walls and ceilings from the 1960s until the 1980s. A well-known brand of textured coating that did contain asbestos was Artex. The patterns used for textured coatings included swirls and circles.
• Asbestos Pipe Insulation was used to insulate hot water pipes, both in commercial and residential properties. The insulation coated the outside of pipes and often wrapped in a protective coating or painted, making it difficult to identify.
• Asbestos Loose Fill insulation is among the most dangerous forms. It was used to insulate floors and walls in primarily commercial buildings. It was also used in the ship-building industry. Loose fill asbestos usually has a blue-grey or white in color, and looks similar to candy floss.
Asbestos can be found in homes built before 1980, construction sites, and in many military circumstances. According to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOHS), there are 75 different jobs that can expose workers to asbestos, with those jobs primarily involving construction and manufacturing. Approximately 107,000 workers are affected by asbestos each year.
Mesothelioma is a serious illness that has been linked to asbestos exposure in medical literature. It is estimated that there will be 250,000 new cases before 2020 due to the latency period of 20-50 years after being first exposed to asbestos.
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to asbestos exposure.