Do construction workers need to fear asbestos today?

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2020 | mesothelioma

Sure, asbestos was commonly used in the past, but it’s largely been prohibited for most home uses since the late 1970s. Why, then, would there be any reason to worry about the health consequences of asbestos exposure today for those working in construction?

Simply put, there’s a lot of old buildings and building materials out there that still have asbestos in them. When those materials remain undisturbed, they’re generally safe. Once you start a remodel, however, you’re naturally going to start stirring things up and throwing those tiny fibers in the air. It doesn’t take much for them to get into your lungs that way.

Even demolition work on an old building is dangerous — and many construction workers don’t realize it. One St. Louis woman has made it her mission to inform people about the dangers of asbestos during building demolitions. She’s worked to get rules passed in her area that will provide workers with personal protective gear and other safety measures, like air monitoring, during such projects.

Asbestos can lurk in many common home building materials, including:

  • Soundproofing material, like popcorn ceiling tiles and spray-on insulation
  • Cement sheets, millboards and insulation used around furnaces and stoves
  • Floor tiles, including the backing and adhesives on old vinyl sheets
  • Roofing and siding, e.g., old shingles
  • Steam pipes, furnace ducts and boilers, especially when insulated with asbestos tape or blankets

Remember: It takes years to develop the symptoms of asbestos-related lung disease, mesothelioma or other cancers. The St. Louis woman mentioned earlier developed cancer 15 years after her last exposure to asbestos on a demolition site. If you have an asbestos-related disease related to your exposure on the job, you can talk to an attorney about your options to seek compensation.