Before medical science conclusively showed how dangerous it was, businesses used asbestos in all kinds of products. Asbestos, which is a naturally-occurring mineral substance, helps slow the spread of fire. It also is an effective insulating material.
Companies have historically used asbestos in everything from shipbuilding materials and brake pads to flooring and ceiling materials used in residential properties. Although many of these products no longer contain asbestos, many houses still have those older, dangerous building materials inside them.
Contractors and remodelers working on homes built more than two or three decades ago may be at particular risk of asbestos exposure on the job.
Many people deal with asbestos by covering it up
Popcorn ceilings are used in many high-density residential facilities, like apartment buildings and college dorms. They hide signs of wear and age well and can also slow the spread of fire within a particular unit and between floors.
Some popcorn ceilings installed decades ago may have asbestos particles in them, which means that removing the popcorn ceiling will mean inhaling a dangerous amount of asbestos. Some homeowners doing their own work or even construction professionals addressed likely asbestos contamination by sealing it in.
In the case of popcorn ceilings, they may have added a layer of drywall or installed pressed tin ceiling panels to hide the popcorn ceilings. If there was flooring made with asbestos, they may have just put a layer of the new flooring on top of the existing, dangerous flooring. Workers gutting buildings down to the studs or doing major rehab projects may find themselves removing materials contaminated with asbestos.
Employers should protect construction workers from asbestos
There are many ways for companies to mitigate the risks their workers have due to asbestos exposure on the job. They can test facilities where they will be doing remodeling projects to determine if there is asbestos in any of the materials. They can also provide safety equipment, like coveralls and ventilation devices, to ensure that workers don’t inhale asbestos or carry it home with them.
Unfortunately, thousands of workers will handle asbestos without realizing that they have and without any training or safety equipment provided by their employers. Those who develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases and who work in construction may be in a position to bring a claim against their employer or former employer because of their illness.
Connecting your mesothelioma diagnosis with the remodeling or construction work you once did will help you get compensation to cover treatment and other expenses.