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Why is asbestos a risk to firefighters?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2021 | Asbestos |

Many industries use asbestos because of its heat-resistant and fire-retardant properties. For instance, the automobile industry uses it on high friction components such as brakes and clutches. They even used it in fire blankets. However, that does not mean that asbestos is safe in a fire.

If you worked as a firefighter, you probably came into contact with asbestos, which could have harmed your health. A 2013 study found firefighters faced twice the risk of mesothelioma than the general population.

Many old buildings contained a lot of asbestos. Only in 1982 did they ban it from new constructions. If an older building containing asbestos caught fire, they might have called on you as a firefighter to attend the fire. 

What happens to asbestos in a fire?

Asbestos causes harm when it gets into the air. When the fibers become airborne, they travel. They can land on your body and clothing, or you can breathe them into your lungs. As parts of a building collapse, asbestos will inevitably be released into the air. The very tools of your trade could also have released asbestos into the air. For example, hacking through a partition with a fire ax or blasting a wall with a powerful fire hose could all lead to asbestos entering the air where you could breathe it in.

When you joined the fire service, you accepted risking your life to save that of others. Yet, the dangers you were signing up to were known hazards such as fire and falling rubble. Many people in the construction industry knew about the risks of asbestos, yet they decided to hide the information from the public and continue to use it until the law forced them not to.

Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can significantly shorten your life. Getting adequate compensation can make your situation more bearable and leave your family in a better position to cope financially in the future.