Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in many industries due to its fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, it can cause serious health problems, including mesothelioma.
The risk of developing mesothelioma is highest among those exposed to asbestos.
Industries at higher risk
The construction industry is one of the largest users of asbestos-containing materials. Workers in this industry are at risk of exposure to asbestos during the installation, maintenance and repair of buildings, insulation, roofing and flooring materials.
Asbestos was common in the shipbuilding and maritime industry. Exposure to asbestos could occur during the construction, repair and demolition of ships.
The automotive industry is another one where workers are especially at risk due to the use of asbestos in brake pads, clutch facings and gaskets. Asbestos exposure could occur during the manufacturing, installation and repair of these products.
Jobs at higher risk
Within these industries, there are specific roles that make someone even more likely to experience exposure.
For instance, people working as carpenters, plumbers and HVAC technicians can be at a higher risk than those working in management or engineering.
In the shipbuilding and maritime industries, people like welders, solderers and electricians who worked on ships or in shipyards can be more likely to have come into contact with asbestos than designers or supervisors. Navy veterans who lived or worked on vessels can also be at higher risk.
Automotive mechanics who work on older vehicles with asbestos-containing brakes, clutches and gaskets face a higher risk of exposure to asbestos fibers than someone who primarily worked on new cars and parts.
Being aware of the risk level
Knowing which industries and jobs pose an especially high risk of asbestos exposure is crucial. Those who worked in these capacities should seek medical attention if they experience chest pain, shortness of breath or coughing.
Early detection and treatment of mesothelioma can drastically improve outcomes and quality of life for anyone diagnosed.