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Which jobs have high asbestos exposure rates?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Asbestos |

Asbestos is a known toxic material. People are exposed to asbestos all of the time. Some industries are known to have higher amounts of asbestos exposure.

Here are a few types of jobs that can lead to asbestos exposure and illnesses: 


Many building materials, such as drywall, insulation, caulking, and shingles were made with asbestos. This helped reduce fires and acted as insulation. But, the use of asbestos has dramatically dropped since the 1970s. Construction workers may still be exposed to asbestos if they demolish older homes, buildings, factories, and refineries. Asbestos can enter the air when the fibers are disturbed, degraded or removed.

Shipyard workers

Asbestos was a critical material used for ships to reduce fires while out at sea. Shipyard workers may be exposed to asbestos in many ways, especially in boiler and engine rooms. Employees who work on ship maintenance could be exposed to asbestos. Shipments of asbestos could also contaminate the air during transport. 

Factory and refinery workers 

Many people who worked in factories or refineries where large amounts of heat was used (for example, smelters and oil refineries) were exposed to asbestos. These employees likely worked without protective gear. Asbestos could have been found in the structure of a building and machinery. 

Auto mechanics

Asbestos was used as a binder in brake linings and clutches until the early 2000s in some cases, meaning that professional mechanics and shadetree mechanics alike have been exposed to asbestos when performing routine maintenance. Because the products did not contain warnings, workers did not know to use masks to protect against asbestos exposure.


It’s not a firefighter’s job to know whether a building was constructed with asbestos as they take action to save people trapped in buildings and put out fires. As a result, a fire may release toxic asbestos fibers into the air. This can expose firefighters to asbestos diseases, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. While protective gear like respiratory masks can limit how much asbestos a firefighter is exposed to, it often can’t eliminate the danger entirely. Firefighters may carry fibers on their bodies without knowing, which can expose themselves and others to asbestos diseases. 

Victims of asbestos exposure should understand their legal rights if they are seeking compensation for their illnesses and losses.